The city of Hastings is looking to discontinue holding electrical exams or providing electrical licenses based on in-house-provided exams.

Members of the Hastings Planning Commission voted 7-0-1 to recommend approval of an ordinance to amend the Hastings City regarding electrical examinations and licensing procedures and requirements. Commission member Jacque Cranson was absent, and Willis Hunt abstained.

Many of the changes involve changing the terminology from certification to registration within the code description.

State testing is available online.

“If we were administering the test we would certify them because they had taken a test with us, our examination board would be grading it, so it would be more of a certification,” Development Services Director Lisa Parnell-Rowe said.

If the city’s process changes, participants would be registered.

“That’s just to say we looked at the state’s tests and we’ve seen that they completed it,” she said.

At the same time that the city is doing the in-house electrical exams, the state is doing electrical exams.

The exams are reciprocal, but electricians still would have to take the state exam to work in another community.

Among reasons for the recommended change is the fact that the city has a declining participation for in-house testing. Parnell-Rowe said an average of 13 people each year test that way.

There are potentially limited conference areas for testing should the Development Services Office move out of the City Building.

Hastings is one of two out of 531 Nebraska municipalities that currently does in-house testing. Fremont is the other.

Parnell-Rowe said Electrical Inspector Bill Mooney sent an email to all electricians who paid the occupation tax about the proposal and has received no feedback.

Hunt said he was conflicted by the proposal because Hastings had the highest level of electrical examination in Nebraska and electricians from Hastings are known for their acumen.

Also during the meeting, commission members unanimously recommended approval of an ordinance and the amendment to the official zoning district map to rezone Lots seven through nine and Lots 13 through 18, block one of A.H. Cramer’s Addition to the city and the vacated alley adjacent to said lots from R-3, multiple-family residential to C-3 commercial business.

The nine lots are between Lincoln and Hastings avenues, on the north side of I Street, across the street from Lincoln Park.

The owner, Lawrence Esch, plans to sell the lots to be used as a plant nursery.

Hunt asked after the rezone was approved to make a motion that the city of Hastings takes the initiative to extend the sewer line that far south that those lots could be developed.

“I’m for the rezone, but I really think we have dropped the ball by not requesting the city look at this and do something,” he said.

Commission members couldn’t act on Hunt’s suggestion Tuesday because it wasn’t on the agenda.

Parnell-Rowe said installation of utility services to encourage development of infill lots will be part of the city’s next comprehensive plan.