Commissioners allocate funds to project


By Aubreanna Miller,


From the Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department, Director Julie Rother discussed the upcoming construction of the new NNPHD building with the Wayne County Commissioners during their Tuesday meeting. The Commissioners approved a bill allocating $117,317 to the project from ARPA funds.

Other business items included updates from the UNL Extension office, a review of the Wayne Area Economic Development’s Interlocal Agreement with the City of Wayne and more. 

Sandra Hansen, disaster recovery specialist, told Commissioners remaining ARPA funds totaled $117,317.84, less than the $125,000 the board previously believed they would have to give to the NNPHD project. Hansen said this occurred because the interest that accrued could not be factored into the total amount. 

The board moved forward with this amount, adding that if any other projects go under budget, that extra money, up to that $125,000 limit, would go to the NNPHD. They received a bid from a local construction company for a 5,500 square foot facility, featuring 15 offices, storage space and garage space. The new construction, Rother said, will go up behind Magnuson Hopkins Eye Care. 

Dixon County approved $75,000 toward the project and Cedar County will give $125,000. Thurston decided to not allocate funds at this time. The NNPHD will also receive $550,000 from state ARPA funds and plans to apply for USDA grants. 

When the new building is finished, presumably by December 2024 according to Rother, the old facility will be sold.

Nebraska Extension Educator Julie Schultz updated the Commissioners regarding recent events in the UNL extension office. The organization has held several school enrichment programs at area schools. They also have begun planning for next year’s county fair. 

Commissioners approved for the extension office to close from Christmas to New Year’s Day. 

From the Wayne Area Economic Development, Luke Virgil presented an interlocal agreement between WAED, the county and the City of Wayne. The Commissioners, during budget sessions, set aside funds for economic development for the next three years; to be paid quarterly. Virgil took the document to Tuesday evening’s City Council meeting for approval and will come to the next Commissioner meeting for a decision. 

Wayne County Treasurer Lisa Lindsay said her office sent out letters for 24 distress warrants following the Oct. 31 deadline. Lindsay has already received three calls looking to pay their personal property taxes and will continue to pursue the other 21. The next step, Lindsay said, will be to have the sheriff's office begin knocking on doors. 

From 2022, there is about $280,000 remaining in past due taxes. 

Mark Casey, highway superintendent, gave updates on current and upcoming projects in the county. Kyle Huff, Casey’s assistant, also attended the meeting. Casey said he plans on retiring on Jan. 11 of 2024 and recommends Huff takes over his position. 

Huff has undergone training and received certifications to receive his Class B license. If he becomes the highway superintendent, he will have a Class A license after two years in the position. The Commissioners plan on further discussing the position at their next meeting. 

The next meeting of the Wayne County Commissioners will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 9 a.m.