Council gets update on library services


An update was given on the current power situation facing the state because of the extremely cold temperatures during Tuesday's meeting of the Wayne City Council.

City Administrator Wes Blecke said that due to the possibility of rolling blackouts throughout the Southwest Power Pool's 14-state service area, the city began generating its own power on Monday.

However, on Tuesday, a malfunction in the city's system, caused an outage and the city returned to the grid for power. The problem was fixed in a short time and the electric department again began generating power for the city.

Marcy Luth with AMGL presented a fiscal year 19-20 audit for the city.

Luth compared the city's current financial health with that of a year ago and with cities of comparable size.

She highlighted a number of areas in which the city is doing well and other areas that might need to be addressed. One of those is the city's General Fund Reserves, which showed a considerable decrease from the previous year.

However, approximately $1,050,000 of the work on the Trail Collapse project will be reimbursed by FEMA and NEMA. When this amount is added to the fund, it will actually be higher than in the past. 

The entire audit is available for the public to view on the city's website.

Library Director Heather Headley presented information on activity at the Wayne Public Library. She, Youth Services Director Kim Warner and Adult Services Director Sharon Carr each talked about how services had changed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Headley said the library was closed for approximately five days before beginning curb-side services.

Since June 15 the library has opened for patrons on a limited basis, with those wishing to use the library asked to call and make an appointment.

Warner talked about services she was able to provide, including Story Time in the Park, and plans going forward.

Carr has been focusing on providing services to patrons digitally and on social media. She noted that numbers in these categories have increased significantly. In addition, Carr has been involved in creating a variety of 'take-and-make' activities available for curbside pickup.

In other action, Wayne Mayor Cale Giese read a proclamation recognizing March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month.

Approval was given to close off East 10th Street east of Angel Acres to Hillside Drive on Saturday May 1. On that day, the Wayne High School and EVERON (Electric Vehicle Energy Research of Nebraska) will be hosting the 2020 Power Drive State Championship.

Bids will be sought for the Greenwood Cemetery - West Driveway Project. 

It is anticipated that the work would begin after Memorial Day and completed in time to re-seed grass along the driveway, no later than Sept. 1.

Authorization was given for the city administrator to apply for Nebraska Public Transportation Act Funds for the operation of the Wayne Public Transportation system.

Considerable discussion was held on the engineering services for the "Shovel Ready Centennial Road/21st Street Project.

City Administrator Blecke asked council for direction on whether to select the city engineer (JEO) or go out for a Request for Proposal (RFP).

Some of the discussion centered on the time frame of getting the RFPs returned and the project moving forward should federal funding become available. It was noted that it would be at least the second council meeting of March before council action would be taken on these proposals.

Several council members felt other engineering firms should be given the opportunity to submit proposals for the project. By using an RFP process, the city would not be obligated to take the lowest bid, but could evaluate each proposal to see what would best serve the city's needs.

Following discussion, the council voted 3-3 to move forward with having JEO as the engineer. Council members Nick Muir, Terri Buck and Chris Woehler voted against, while council members Tasuko Taoka, Jill Brodersen and Jason Karsky voting for the motion. Mayor Cale Giese then broke the tie by voting in favor of JEO doing the work. 

The Wayne City Council will next meet in regular session on Tuesday, March 2 at 5:30 p.m. at the Wayne Community Activity Center.