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Terrytown fires utilities chief
September 10, 2015 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis
By a unanimous vote at its Sept. 3 meeting, the Terrytown City Council has terminated Ken Furrey, the city’s utilities superintendent.

Council members cited ongoing problems Furrey had with anger management and alcohol abuse. An incident in June resulted in his suspension.

Terrytown’s administration requested Furrey enroll in treatment and attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings before it would consider reinstatement. The situation has been dragging on since then, and council members finally said it was time to move on.

“We’ve given Ken a lot of chances to get his act cleaned up,” Mayor Kent Greenwalt said. “We can’t have this continuing. It’s just a sad deal.”

Council members also said the ongoing situation was unfair to Hugo Chairez, the city’s other utilities worker. Since Furrey’s suspension, Chairez had been on call nearly every hour of every day to handle emergency calls from residents. The city is now working on finding more help for the utilities department.

Terrytown council members also approved the city’s 2015-2016 budget, which goes into effect Oct. 1. The overall budget for the upcoming fiscal year was approved at $8,300,070.

The assessed valuation of property within the city increased by 2.26 percent compared with last year, up from $22,544,417 to a current level of $23,045,988. The property tax request for the upcoming year is $107,262, up from last year’s $105,000, an increase of 2.15 percent.

Council members also heard from City Engineer Jeff Wolfe on progress for Terrytown’s water project, which will connect the City with Gering’s water supply, replace several of the city’s water mains, and install water meters on all residences and businesses. The initial engineering study must be completed, approved by Gering, and accepted by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality before funding can be arranged. The study must also include Terrytown’s water mitigation agreement with the North Platte Natural Resources District, which obligates the city for $56,000 for the water it takes from Gering.

“The state had indicated that if we can get the finalized report to them in the next two months, they can have a funding package proposed by the end of this year,” Wolfe told the council. “To help minimize the cost, the state also wants us to retain our current water tower.”
Wolfe said that once funding is in place, the city can complete the design phase for the water project, and call for bids in the spring of 2016. Potentially, work could start in the fall of 2016.
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