COVID-19 update, liquor license discussed by council


Information from the Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department on COVID-19, an update on the hours of operation at the Community Activity Center and the issuance of a liquor license for a new business were among the items on the agenda when the Wayne City Council met in regular session on Nov. 17.

Julie Rother with the Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department spoke to the council via Zoom. She said the number of cases in the district is "skyrocketing and there is a backlog in the area of contact tracing."

She shared with the council the current restrictions in place, as the state is now in the "orange" category. She also explained what would happen should the state move to the higher "red" category.

Rother said the percentage of COVID-19 patients in hospitals is growing. However, in regard to taking precautions, " schools are doing a pretty good job."

Also in regard to COVID-19, information was shared on the use of the Community Activity Center (CAC). It was determined that due to both the need to keep crowds out and the difficulty in having staff available, the CAC would be only open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. by appointment. Families and small groups will need to contact the CAC to determine if the facility, especially the track, can  be used during this time frame.

A public hearing was held on an application for a Class D Liquor License for DSF Wayne Short Stop LLC, doing business as Short Stop.

Dan and Shelly are purchasing the former G's Quick Shop at 1034 Main Street. The Fehringers said they plan to operate the business similarly to what it is now, with the possibility of adding additional alcohol options and using the empty space at the west end of the building for an additional business.

The request was unanimously approved.

Following discussion the resolution that would have awarded a bid and accepted a contract for the Pine Heights Road & Utility Improvement Project was tabled.

Due to an error in unit pricing, the bid from A&R Construction was actually higher than the bid from Myers Construction.

Jon Mooberry, Project Manager with JEO Consulting, explained what the project entailed and noted that Myers Construction had positive references from previous work.

However, Council member Chris Woehler questioned some of the proposed work on the project and said the firm had no history with some of the types of paving that would be part of the project.

Following additional discussion, council members agreed to have Mooberry look for additional information from the firm and obtain additional references before a bid is awarded. He noted that because the project is not scheduled to begin until the spring of 2020, the delay in awarding the bid should not slow the project down.

A presentation was given by Dwight Wininger and Al Schroeder of ALLO Communications LLC.

The two men discussed the firm's desire to bring an all fiber network that would provide cable TV, internet and phone service to Wayne.

They said the company is a Nebraska-based business and talked about both the history of the company and cities in Nebraska and Colorado where services are offered.

"We are focused on customer service and being local. We plan to have a store front in Wayne to serve customers," Wininger said.

Discussion was held on placing the necessary equipment on electric poles throughout the city and the city's plan to eventually move away from overhead lines for the delivery of electricity. Both Wininger and Schroeder said they were aware of the fact that in the future, underground boring would be necessary. This would be considerably more expensive but the firm would work with the city's electric department on the installation.

Following the discussion the ordinance granting a non-exclusive franchise to ALLO Communications LLC was approved and the three readings waived.

Additionally, a resolution approved the pole agreement with the firm was approved.

Discussion was held on the city's plan to make an offer to purchase a 50 foot by 100 foot piece of property at 111 Fairgrounds Avenue.

City Administrator Wes Blecke told the council that the piece of property is currently owned by the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). The property had been offered for sale for $24,300, which is the amount of money that has been invested in it to purchase it and raze the building that was on the property.

Discussion was held on what the city would do with the property and the possibility of trading it for another piece of property adjacent to city-owned property.

It was noted that there are several property owners in the area and the owner of the property the city would like to obtain is not interested in making a trade.

Also discussed were possible plans for the entire area and having street access for all property owners.

Following debate, council members voted 5-3 to move forward with the city purchasing the property from the CRA. Council members Jennifer Sievers, Jon Haase and Chris Woehler voted against the purchase.

Mayor Cale Giese brought forth several names for those to be appointed to the Problem Resolution Team. BJ Woehler and Sheryl Lindau were named to the team.

The Wayne City Council will next meet in regular session on Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 5:30 p.m. at the Wayne Community Activity Center.