Commissioners get information on wildfire protection plan



An update on creating a wildfire protection plan for this region of the state was among the items highlighting the Tuesday meeting of the Wayne County Board of Commissioners.

Wayne County Emergency Manager Nic Kemnitz spoke to the commissioners on getting a process in place known as LCES. This stands for Lookout, Communication(s), Escape Routes and Safety Zone(s).

He explained what each of these parts of the process involve and said training needs to take place for this safety system to be effective. Wayne County is in the Middle Northeast Region, which includes Antelope, Pierce, Wayne, Madison, Boone, Platte and Colfax counties.

Kemnitz also shared information on the Missouri River Northeast Community Wildlife Protection Plan. While the actual area does not include Wayne County, the Wayne Volunteer Fire District does include land in Dixon County.

The goal of the plan is to help communities prepare by identifying where dead trees, and other items that could easily cause a fire to spread, are located.

Commissioners voted in favor of having Kemnitz be a part of the steering committee moving forward.

Kemnitz also spoke briefly on the plan to have the state emergency management conference in April and to make it as safe as possible.

Additionally, he provided information on the his work with the MayDay STOL committee that is bringing this event to the Wayne Airport April 28 - May 1. Planning will continue on making sure the event is safe for everyone involved.

In other action, the commissioners heard an update on the calling of Highway Allocation Bonds, Series 2015 and the issuance of Highway Allocation Fund Pledge Refunding Bond, Series 2021.

Andy Forney with D.A. Davidson & Co. told the commissioners that there has been some fluctuation in interest rates in the last several weeks and gave a time line on the process of calling the current bonds and issuance of new bonds.

It is anticipated that doing so would save the county approximately $55,000 over the course of bonds.

Following a brief executive session, the commissioners voted to make a recommendation to the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission on the Manager Applicant  for the Wayne County Ag Society Liquor License.

The item had been tabled at the last meeting.

Highway Superintendent Mark Casey gave an update on road and bridge work in the county.

He plans to meet with representatives of Mainelli Wagner & Associates, Inc. to discuss items on the county's one- and six-year bridge and road improvement plan.

Casey said he has worked with County Attorney Amy Miller and the county is able to use SourceWell, a co-op purchasing group, for the purchase heavy equipment items for the county. He said he will further research the company to determine whether or not the county would be able to provide their own specifications for equipment they wished to purchase.

The final item on the agenda was an update from Doug Elting with Berggren Architect on the courthouse renovation project.

Elting told the commissioners that the doors to the courthouse now have keys and are in working order. The wrong hardware for these doors had been sent twice and the issue has been ongoing for several months.

He also discussed the roof issue and said work will be done to find out where the leak is coming from and how to fix it, and the current issue with the gutters.

There are several items still on the 'punch list' before the paperwork can be signed for final completion on the project.

The Wayne County Board of Commissioners will next meet in regular session on Tuesday, March 16 at 9 a.m. The meeting will be held in the Conference Room on the third floor of the courthouse, to the southeast of the Court Room.