Council holds final meeting of 2020


Insurance coverage, appointments and the city's wage and salary schedule were on the agenda when the Wayne City Council met in regular session on Tuesday.

In addition, the council spent considerable time as a Committee-of-the-whole discussing items such as the lagoon, the old pool house and shovel ready projects that could be eligible for federal funding in the future.

Cap Peterson with Northeast Nebraska Insurance Agency spoke to the council on the city's property and casualty insurance package. He noted that the city's Workers Compensation experience mod was slightly higher this year than the past several years. This led to a nearly $6,000 increase in premium for that portion of the package. 

In addition, Peterson recommended the council switch from a $1,000 deductible on property claims to a $10,000 deductible. This will result in a savings of approximately $9,000 a year.

Following Peterson's presentation, council members voted to approve the insurance package for the 2021 calendar year at a cost of $374,266.00.

Street and Planning Director Joel Hansen presented an update to the council on the work done by his department this year.

Hansen told the council his department includes six full-time employees and "they are a quality crew. They get along well."

He talked about projects the department was involved in during the past year, including work at the lagoon and the removal of numerous trees along the route of the new  walking trail. Hansen discussed the challenges of the past year with COVID-19 and the fact that he has learned new ways to accomplish a number of tasks.

Plans for the future were discussed and include demolishing the old Street Shop building behind the Power Plant, replacing paving on East 14th Street and overseeing the Pine Heights Road and East 10th Street project.

A number of appointments were made during Tuesday's meeting.

These include:

Marlon Brink to the Library Board;

city employees Betty McGuire, Beth Porter, Joel Hansen, Marlen Chinn, Lowell Heggemeyer, Diane Bertrand, Heather Headley, Jeff Triggs, Tim Sutton and Casey Junck to their respective departments;

Mike Powicki and Greg Ptacek to the Community Redevelopment Authority;

and Brad Wieland to the Problem Resolution Team.

Resolution 2020-59 received unanimous approval from the council. It involves the city's wage and salary schedule and provides for a two percent cost of living increase and changes the titles of several positions to better reflect the work of the individual.

Council members also voted to authorize the city administrator to continue indefinitely to pay out police department vacation leave for those who have accrued time but are unable to take vacation due to the department being not fully staffed.

Discussion was held on the fact that the police department is currently advertising for the open positions, but have had very few applicants.

In other action, council members  approved the membership of Alexis Heaton to the Wayne Volunteer Fire Department. Wayne Fire Chief Phil Monahan told the council Heaton's membership had been approved by the department. She is currently a Wayne State College student and told the council she would like to serve the community.

Following the regular meeting, the council reconvened as a Committee-of-the-Whole to discuss a number of items.

City Administrator Wes Blecke said he wanted the council to be aware of some topics the council may need to deal with in the future.

These included the possibility of implementing an additional one-half percent city sales tax, annexation of certain portions of land, work that has been, or could be, done in the area of the lagoon in the southeast portion of the city and stub streets that are generally short streets that may need to have some type of parking regulations connected to them.

Also on the list was the possibility of obtaining federal funding for projects that have already been designed and are shovel ready. Listed  as possibilities were Fourth Street to Centennial Road; Centennial Road and East 21st Street (would also involve the County) and South Sherman Street.

The future of the old pool house across the street from the bowling alley was also on the list. City crews will begin gutting the building this winter to determine what can be done with the building and the next steps in the process.

A brief update on the city's mask mandate was given by both council members and Police Chief Marlen Chinn.

All indicated no major problems and that since implementation, most comments have shifted toward the positive.

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