Cost of feasibility study debated by council


After more than an hour of debate, the resolution on a 'pond feasibility study' was tabled during Tuesday's Wayne City Council meeting.

The resolution would have accepted a proposal from engineering firm Olsson for $11,800 for the study for the former lagoon area.

Mayor Cale Giese started the discussion of the agenda item by stating "I have some reservations about this. Are we going to pump city water into the pond. We already have Ike's Lake five miles from town."

Council member Matt Eischied said he felt that "if we (the city) do something down there, we need to do it right. This is an amenity that we have to pay for."

Wayne Area Economic Development (WAED) Director Luke Virgil encouraged the city to move forward with the study, noting "that even if you don't do anything, this would be something for people to do."

Council member Chris Woehler said if the pond were built, "it would be a lake without water going it to it. JEO (the city's engineer) should be able to give us the answers we need before making any decisions."

Mayor Giese questioned what the city would be getting for the $11,800 investment and said the city already has access to data that they can get for free.

"The one question we need answered is how much drainage is coming off this ground?" Giese asked.

Council member Eischied and Mayor Giese debated the need for certain questions on the proposal from Olsson.

Following the debate, council members voted to table the item until several of the questions Giese rasied could be answered by the engineering firm.

In other action, the council approved an application for corporate manager for Krystal M. Carter in connection with Casey's Retail Company dba as Casey's General Store 2738.

Luke Virgil, Director of Wayne Area Economic Development, spoke to the council and gave an update on LB 840 activity. 

The city receives an update every six months from the LB 840 committee and Virgil told the council there has been only one request for Revolving Loan Funds during the last six months - an $85,000 low interest loan to Short Stop.

Following a public hearing, council members approved Resolution 2021-37, which allowed the chief elected official to sign an application for Community Development Block Grant - Public Works Funds in the amount of $303,000.

Jan Merrill with the Northeast Nebraska Economic Development District explained to the council how the money would be used if the city were awarded the grant. This includes $268,000 to renovate the bath house at the former swimming pool. The building would serve as the trail head for the city's recreation trail. In addition, $25,000 would be used for general administration and $10,000 for construction management. The city would be required to provide $80,400 in matching funds.

It is anticipated that the city would be notified in late fall if the grant money would be received. If so, it would need to be used within 30 months.

An application for Payment No. 1 in the amount of $58,059.75 to Meyers Construction, Inc. for the Pine Heights Road & Utility Improvements Project was approved. Work is currently underway on the project.

A resolution authorizing the allocation of property taxes to the Wayne Airport Authority was approved unanimously. It was noted that the airport cannot levy taxes on its own and that this year's request of $63,408 was less than last year's asking of $76,800.

Council members also authorized Wayne Police Chief Marlen Chinn to move forward  with the purchase of a 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe through the state bid. A bid proposal was received from Arnie's Ford for $38,837 for the vehicle. 

It was noted that the vehicle would be ordered by the end of August, but could take up to six months to be delivered.

Council members voted to set a Mini Retreat date of Tuesday, Aug. 31 at 5:30 p.m. at the Wayne Fire Hall. The retreat will be held to discuss public facilities and buildings.

In addition, a budget hearing for the proposed 2021-2022 fiscal year budget will be held at the same time.

The final item on the Tuesday agenda was a budget work session.

City Finance Director Beth Porter presented information to the council members on several departments and those department heads were on hand to answer questions posed by council members.

Among the department requests were several upgrades to the Wayne Public Library and the possible change of a part-time position into a full-time position.

Information provided by the Electric Department included moving to four full-time employees in the production side of the department and several items that would be purchased to be used by both the electric department and the water and sewer department.

The budget for the technology department includes a request for a phone system upgrade and upgrades to the sound system in the council chambers.

The Wayne City Council will next meet in regular session on Tuesday, Aug. 17 at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers.