Council continues with plan to put sales tax vote on ballot


By Clara Osten,


Voters in the city of Wayne will have the opportunity to voice their opinion on a one-half cent sales tax increase following action taken at Tuesday's meeting of the Wayne City Council.

As part of the process, council members first approved a resolution that involves an interlocal agreement  with Wayne County School District 0017 related to recreational facilities. This agreement is similar to one passed in 2022 and is necessary before the additional sales tax asking can be put on the ballot. The only requirement for the agreement is that representatives from the two entities meet at least once a year.

Resolution 2024-11 was approved on a unanimous vote. It will allow for the creation of ballot language to "increase the local sales and use tax rate by one-half of one percent with all revenues generated by the additional one-half of one percent to be used for public infrastructure projects of the city, which shall include recreational facilities of the city."

The additional tax is expected to generate approximately $500,000 per year.

The tax will sunset after 10 years or when the bonds are paid off.

In other action, the council approved two requests for use of city property in coming months.

Mindy Haase, representing the Wayne High School Post Prom Committee, asked for permission to use the Community Activity Center for the post prom event on Saturday, March 23.

Haase told the council that the committee wants to "do something new and different." She shared information on some of the activities planned and said one of the reasons for the request was that areas in the high school where the event is generally held will be under construction by the date of the prom.

She also noted that three of the parents on the committee are city employees and would assist in keeping the attendees safe and the building clean.

The request was granted, with the understanding that the group would be responsible for paying the security deposit.

A request from the Cruise Main Committee to allow food trucks to park and operate on the former Riley's property on the south end of Main Street was approved.

Council members were informed that the event generally draws up to 400 cars and that the area "was a good place to put them (food trucks) as there are not a lot of places to park the trucks.

A request for a $10,000 loan from LB840 funds for  a smoothie and board game cafe was approved.

The request came from Jennifer and Breland Ridenour, owners of Blends & Boards, located at 211 Main Street. The money will be used for start up costs. The terms of the loan are for five years at 0% interest rate.

The Ridenours explained what the business would offer, noting that "there is nothing similar in the area" and that "this is a quickly growing industry."

The funds will be used to increase the business inventory with the plan to have at least 300 games available.

Three public hearings were held during Tuesday's meeting.

The first of these involved an application for a Class D (beer, wine and distilled spirits, off-sale only) liquor license for JF Clarke, Inc., doing business as Pac 'N' Save.

The license would be for the grocery store in Wayne. The resolution for the application was approved by the council.

The second hearing was to consider a request to amend the city code in regard to minimum yard requirements in the B-3 Neighborhood Commercial District.

The Community Redevelopment Authority brought the request to the council, seeking to adjust the front yard requirements to a minimum of 15 feet. This would improve the site triangles for these particular lots.

Following the public hearing, Ordinance 2024-1 received first reading approval.

The final public hearing involved the city's Future Land Use map of the Comprehensive Plan.

The Planning Commission annually reviews the land use map and brings forth revisions. The revisions include an area west of Wayne to be considered for annexation.

Considerable discussion was held on the areas that could be included as areas of future development and possible annexation.

Among the areas was land on the north side of Grainland Road, near the Wayne County Fairgrounds.

BJ Woehler spoke in favor of conducting a blight study for a portion of the area in an attempt to be able to use TIF financing for development.

Council members said it would be best to not include the fairgrounds as an area to be annexed and discussed possible portions of land in the area that could be included.

Following the public hearing, council members voted to table Ordinance 2024-2 which would amend the Future Land Use Map. Additional discussion will be held at future meetings.

An annual report was presented by Street and Planning Director Joel Hansen.

He shared information with the council on the number of employees in the department, their years of experience, the number of miles of streets the department is responsible for and some of the major activities the department completed in 2023.

Mayor Cale Giese thanked Hansen and his department for the work they do, noting much of it goes unnoticed.

Luke Virgil, Director of Economic Development, provided the council with an update on economic development activities and 2024 legislation that could impact the city of Wayne.

He presented information on the current LB840 Revolving Loans that are being repaid and the interest rates on these loans.

Virgil also shared information on  the economic development department since its creation as a department within the city.

The update on the Community Activity Center Relocation project included the fact that updated drawings have been presented to the committee and additional input has been given to the architect.

It was noted that the city can not promote the request for an increase in city sales tax. Instead, information can be shared on what sales tax dollars can be used for.

Council members went into executive session to discuss potential litigation on a parcel of land in the Beaumont First Addition to the City of Wayne.

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