Council member sworn in, audit presented


By Clara Osten,


The Wayne City Council is once again at full capacity after Mayor Cale Giese's appointment of Austyn Houser was approved at Tuesday's meeting.

Houser will fill the vacancy in Ward 2 that was created when Brent Pick moved out of the ward. Houser is employed with the State of Nebraska Department of Natural Resources.

Also during Tuesday's meeting, Clayton Dredge was appointed to the position of Electric Distribution Superintendent. He has previously worked in Seward and has 25 years of experience.

Council members listened to Marcy Luth with AMGL who presented information on the fiscal year 2022-2023 audit of city finances.

Luth shared information on 12 benchmarks that compared the city's financial condition with both peer groups throughout the state and with historical data from the city.

She noted the city has a lower valuation when compared to peer group and a lower tax asking than that group.

She said she would like to see the city increase the cash reserve and focus on unrestricted assets.

Several resolutions received approval during the meeting.

The first of these awards was a contract to Complete Floors for the Wayne City Auditorium Terrazzo Floor Refinishing Project.

Lowell Heggemeyer, park and recreations director, told the council that since the last meeting he had obtained information from the firm and received a bid that was lower than one previously obtained from DeMarco Bros. He suggested the council approve moving forward with work in the South Meeting Room of the auditorium and after that determine how to move forward.

Council members approved the plans, specifications and cost estimate for the "Prairie Park Lake Amenities" project and authorized the city to move forward with advertising for bids for the project.

Matthew Smith with Olsson explained to the council what the project would entail. This includes a fishing pier, bridge and eight-foot walking path.

Bids on the project, estimated to cost $597,825 would be opened at the end of the month.

Resolution 2024-6 approved a letter agreement between the City of Wayne and Olsson for the "Logan Creek Watershed Mapping Project."

Considerable discussion was held on the area that would be included in the project, which is designed to determine of any of the land adjacent to the Logan Creek can be removed from the flood plain.

The city is looking for more current data than what is being used to create a map that will go into effect in 2026.

Matthew Smith shared information on what services would be included in the agreement and reasons for having various areas surveyed.

Following discussion, council members voted to move forward with the agreement at a cost of $39,600.

Following a public hearing, the city's One and Six Year Street Improvement Program was approved.

Street Planner Joel Hansen told the council the city currently has approximately 30 miles of streets, which translate into 90 lane miles eligible for Highway Allocation Funds.

The two projects on the one year plan include work in the Prairie Park area and a sidewalk/walking trail from Haas Avenue to Pheasant Run on West Seventh Street.

Council members talked about other possible projects for the future and working with the county for work on East 21st Street from Vintage Hill Drive to Centennial Road.

Discussion was held on the history of streets in certain portions of the city and areas that could become part of the plan.

Resolution 2024-8, which allows for an annual agreement between the City of Wayne Volunteer Fire Department and the Northeast Nebraska Mutual Aid Disaster, was approved.

Ordinance 2023-31 received third and final reading approval. It will allow for the release and abandonment of a 1681.90 square foot easement in the Jorgensen Subdivision.

Ken Jorgensen, owner of the 4th Jug, plans to expand his building in the spot.

An update on the Community Activity Center Relocation Project was presented by City Administrator Wes Blecke and Mayor Giese.

They told the council the committee had met Jan. 31 and chose one design to approve and modify before the group's next meeting on Feb. 14.

The group would like the city to move forward with putting the one-half cent city sales tax on the May primary election ballot. This would require the council to take action on this item at the next meeting.

The Wayne City Council will next meet in regular session on Tuesday, Feb. 20 at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers.