Commissioners meet, set date for budget hearings


The Wayne County Commissioners held their second August meeting Tuesday morning from the district courtroom in the Wayne County Courthouse. During the meeting several issues were discussed, including the status of several projects going on around the county. A date for a budget hearing.

Wayne County's two library directors, Lara Lanphear (Lied Winside Public Library) and Heather Headley (Wayne Public Library) spoke with the commissioners during the meeting. Both gave an update about how the year has gone and how they have used their funding.

Lanphear told the commissioners that she's been able to add children's program at her library. She also has added to the library's collection. Lanphear said she goes to the school a few days a week, reading to pre-schoolers and running a book club for older elementary students.

Headley told the commissioners she has spent funds on online services. Online circulation was up by about 150 titles compared to a year prior and with COVID-19, she expects online services to get even more usage. Headley said online books cost considerably more than hard copies, but patrons seem to be using online more. She also added a story time in the park for young children.

Wayne County Attorney Amy Miller asked the commissioners to approve fees for the diversion program in the county. Miller said she's happy with what she's charging, but an auditor has suggested she get county officials to sign off. The commissioners approved $100 for Tier I offenses and $250 for Tier II and Tier III offenses.

Pat Brentlinger informed the commissioners about a few areas of concern in the courthouse. In the jury room of the district courtroom, window sills are showing some sign of rot. Those windows were replaced years ago and are outside of their warranty.

Brentlinger also discussed the roofing issue on the courthouse's lean-to. He told the commissioners at the last meeting that parts of the roof were beginning to rot and suggested then, replacing the roof with a new rubber one. During Tuesday's meeting Brentlinger suggested installing a copper covered roof instead, to help better match the lean-to to the rest of the courthouse. The commissioners directed him to look into the matter.

Wayne County Clerk Deb Finn told the commissioners that the National Association of Counties (NACo) informed Wayne County that the organization will no longer host the website domain or emails. Finn said after talking with the City of Wayne's IT expert Brian Kesting, they've decided the best course of action is to switch to .gov hosted emails and website.

Berggren Architects representative Doug Elting told the commissioners that sprinklers have been repaired, oriels will go up this week and doors are nearly ready to be replaced on the courthouse. The expected substantial completion date for the courthouse restoration project is expected sometime late September or early October.

The Wayne County Commissioners voted 2-1 to raise the mill levy 0.006. With costs increasing for every department, the commissioners decided to cut money usually set aside for unexpected road repair costs among other things, and to raise the mill bond. Comissioners Dean Burbach and Terry Sievers said they felt if they didn't raise the mill levy a little now, they were worried they'd have to raise it substantially in the future.

Only commissioner Jim Rabe voted nay. He felt raising the mill levy was unnecessary for the next budget cycle and that they couldn't know if they'd have to raise it in the future. The budget hearing will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Wayne County Highway Superintendent Mark Casey said the county has received FEMA money to repair a stretch or road the commissioners have decided to not repair, so the funds will be returned. He also said he's received a letter from Orsted, the company that owns the Plum Creek Wind Project, stating that road repairs are complete and requesting the county sign off. Casey said he will do more inspections before doing so. Bids for a skid loader have opened with the deadline set at Sept. 1.

The next Wayne County Commissioners meeting will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 9 a.m. in the district courtroom in the Wayne County Courthouse.