Commissioners debate driveway placements


Considerable debate on the placement of driveways for wind towers was held during Tuesday's meeting of the Wayne County Board of Commissioners.

David Levy, representing NextEra Energy and the Sholes Wind Project, spoke to the commissioners on the compromises that have taken place between his client and the county in regard to a number of driveway placements on the project.

He noted that there are still two driveways that raise concerns with safety.

Alternatives to the current location of one of the driveways would result in approximately a half acre of farm land being taken out of production.

Discussion was held on other options, including the cutting down of hills or filling in of the area to make it safer.

Mark Casey, Highway Superintendent and Mark Mainelli with Mainelli Wagner & Associates Inc. told the commissioners that they would work with engineers from NextEra to find a workable solution.

Discussion was held on what can be done until the situation is resolved. This includes installing signage in the area informing motorists of the driveways.

Doug Elting with Berggren Architects was at Tuesday's meeting to give an update on the courthouse renovation project.

He said paperwork was sent to the county and that a number of concerns, including leaks in the roof and sidewalk repair, have been completed.

During Tuesday's meeting County Treasurer Tammy Paustian updated the commissioners on interest rates on investments and requested the approval of a resolution establishing Fund 2580 COVID American Rescue Plan.

Paustian said interest rates on CDs are currently "very low." She noted she had moved some of the county's funds and changed the maturity dates of the CDS in an attempt to get better rates.

A recently signed law by President Biden will result in the county receiving $1,836,000 that needs to be spent by 2024. Paustian said the money has been put into a separate account and noted it would take slightly longer to access the money when it is needed. Additional information on how the money can be spent will be made available in the near future.

Wayne County Emergency Manager Nic Kemnitz presented a list of activities he will be involved with during the month of April. On the list is an Emergency Operations Planning Training that will take place with schools in the county this week. It will be a Zoom event.

Kemnitz will be attending the Nebraska Association of Emergency Managers Conference in Grand Island April 14-16 and will take part in County Government Day at the Wayne National Guard Armory on April 19.

He told the commissioners that he and other agencies in the area will be holding an Emergency Response Planning meeting prior to the MayDay STOL event at the Wayne Municipal Airport April 28-May 1. Local agencies will coordinate what to do in case of an emergency during the event.

During Tuesday's meeting commissioners spent more than a half hour in executive session to discuss potential litigation with Herbst Construction over liquidated damages charged to the firm for BRO-7090 (20) Wayne West (aka the Temme Bridge).

Grant applications for Wayne County Convention & Visitors Bureau funds were approved for the following events:

Cars-N-Carroll Show & Shine, Gene Topp Memorial Car Show, Winside Old Settlers & School Alumni Banquet, radio advertising and fair book printing for the Wayne County Fair, Best of Northeast Nebraska Backroads Passport Program, Henoween and the Wayne Chicken Show.

The Wayne County Board of Commissioners will next meet in regular session on Tuesday, April 20 at 9 a.m. in the Wayne County courtroom