Council listens to water bill concerns



After more than a year of meeting either virtually or in other locations in Wayne, the Wayne City Council held its regular meeting on Tuesday in Council Chambers at City Hall.

On the agenda were several items pertaining to water and several ordinances.

Ken Halvorsen with the Nebraska Rural Water Association presented the Initial Financial Managerial Water System Assessment to the council.

He told them the city is doing a good job with the water system and the financing of this system.

Jeannine Wriedt came before the council to contest the amount of water used at one of the properties she owns.

Wriedt, doing business as Wriedt Properties, said a water line broke in a property at 914 Windom Street, sometime in early February. She received a bill for usage of a total of 273,110 gallons for water between Feb. 15 and April 14.

She questioned the accuracy of the meter and noted that there was little damage in the building, considering the amount of water that would have been in the building.

City staff said that it was possible to have that amount of water come from the leak and the drain would have been able to keep up with the water leak.

Following a lengthy discussion, in which it was noted that property owners have the responsibility to check on their properties, especially during cold weather, council members voted to allow Wriedt to pay the water and sewer bill over the course of 18 months.

Following a public hearing, the council gave first reading approval to an ordinance to amend the city zoning map. 

The parcel of land is in the Southeast Addition to the city and will be re-zoned from I-1, Light Industrial and Manufacturing to R-4, Residential.

City Administrator Wes Blecke said that there is not a project being planned for the area currently, but the change would allow for the area to be developed.

The third reading of an ordinance to amend the city's code in regard to building code regulations was tabled.

The city's building code is currently being updated to more closely match that of the code in Norfolk and changes are being made.

Discussion was held on the use of a temporary occupancy permit and what items would be allowed to be unfinished in a project and a permit still issued. These involved safety issues and cosmetic issues.

Discussion also centered on whether or not to raise the deposit on projects to encourage completion in a timely manner.

Council members also approved the appointment of Phil Monahan as Fire Chief for the Wayne Volunteer Fire Department. Monahan has served in this capacity for nine years.

Also approved was the application for cadet membership for Cooper Zara to the Wayne Volunteer Fire Department.

An agreement between the city of Wayne and Waste Connections of Nebraska, Inc. for the operation of the Wayne Recycling & Trash Center (RTC) was approved.

The new agreement is for five years and includes information on several services Waste Connections will provide to the city.

Currently the RTC is open to the public 15 hours a week and city staff will work with Waste Connections to determine if a change in when the RTC is open would be possible. A recent survey of those using the facility indicated a desire to have the facility open some evening hours.

 The Wayne City Council will next meet in regular session on Tuesday, June 1 at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall.