While they’re not saying no to the proposed boundary agreement between Papillion and Gretna, Papillion City Council members also weren’t ready to say yes to the agreement during their April 2 meeting.
The council voted by a 5-2 margin to table the vote on the proposed boundary agreement until the April 16 meeting. Councilmen James Glover and Steve Engberg voted against tabling while Councilwoman Lu Ann Kluch was absent. Gretna City Council voted 4-0 during its April 2 meeting to accept the terms of the boundary agreement.
A collaborative project between staff from both cities, the agreement serves as a potential compromise when it comes to a future Interstate 80 interchange anticipated at 192nd Street. Per the agreement, Gretna will take the area west of the interchange, while Papillion will take the area to the east. If the interchange is built slightly east or west of the 192nd Street target, the agreement would automatically shift with it.
There is no timetable in place for when that interchange could be built.
Councilman Jason Gaines originally proposed the idea to table the vote, saying he wasn’t yet comfortable voting on the terms of the agreement.
“I’m not a big fan of the boundary agreement,” he said. “I know everyone involved did the best they could, but I think an agreement has to benefit both parties and I don’t think this does.
“I think this calls into question the legitimacy of the deal and I would like to go back to Gretna with some of these concerns. This is going to affect us for an eternity so I don’t see the problem in waiting another two weeks. I think we can do better.”
Fellow Councilman Tom Mumgaard echoed those thoughts, believing the proposal was not equitable for Papillion.
“I’m not ready to accept the terms they’ve offered,” Mumgaard said. “I don’t think the terms are fair. We’ve talked about a share of the interchange (Interstate 80 and 192nd Street) and I don’t see this as a share.”
Councilman Engberg was concerned a further delay could damage the relationship between the two cities.
“We’ve been working on this for a year-and-a-half I don’t see why we need another two weeks,” he said. “I think the holdover could send a negative message. We want half (of the interchange) and we might get zero.”
Councilman Steve Sunde contested that as a new member of the council (elected last November) he doesn’t have the background or research other council members have and believed more time was necessary.
Councilman Bob Stubbe, originally opposed to tabling the vote, agreed in the end that it was the best solution for all involved.
“I know Steve has concerns about not being as up to speed and this is a decision that is going to affect us for many years,” Stubbe said. “I want to see an 8-0 vote on this, so I’m OK with taking a couple of extra weeks.
Despite the delay from the Papillion Council, Gretna Mayor Jim Timmerman is optimistic the two sides will find a common ground.
“I’m fully confident that the City of Papillion will approve the agreement at their next meeting as presented,” Timmerman said. “This agreement will define future growth areas as Gretna has completed several years ago with La Vista and Springfield.
”Several months ago I asked our city administrator to set up meetings with Papillion’s city administrator in order to finish out the 2010 agreement which was not complete. Both cities met in executive sessions in order to have updates and give inputs.”
The agreement looks to appease both cities, each of whom wants a piece of the future interchange. Gretna’s 2017 annexation proposal, pending a lawsuit filed by Sarpy County, had originally claimed both sides of the interchange.
Under the proposed agreement, the area east of Interstate 80 targeted in Gretna’s 2017 annexation proposal — if ceded to the city in the future — would be immediately de-annexed and included in Papillion’s boundary area.
The boundary is consistent with the existing agreements between Gretna and La Vista in the north and Gretna and Springfield to the south.
The agreement also outlines other potential situations, including how the cities might address development that eventually cover both territories.
— Rachel George contributed to this report