Pit bulls, pond discussion highlight council agenda


Whether or not to allow a pit bull in the city limits of Wayne and a resolution authorizing a "Pond Feasibility Study" were the two topics that were debated at Tuesday's meeting of the Wayne City Council.

Juan Zazveta and his brother, Fernand Lopez, spoke to the council on a request to have a pit bull at their residence. 

The city currently has an ordinance in place that prohibits pit bulls from being in city limits.

Zazveta told the council he had gotten the dog shortly after he got out of the military a year ago. He uses the dog as an "emotional support animal" and had sent documentation of this to Wayne City Attorney Amy Miller.

He said he had recently moved to Wayne to be closer to family and said he hasn't had any issues with the dog and no one has complained about it. He and his brother also have another dog in the house. The two plan to be in Wayne for another year.

The two said they have been trying to find a place to live outside of city limits but have not been able to find something. They also said if their request to have the pit bull in Wayne was denied, they would look to find housing in Norfolk, which allows pit bulls as long as they are not vicious.

Council member Matt Eischeid asked the two several questions and noted "we have ordinances for a reason."

City Attorney Miller said that if any other type of dog bites someone in the city limits of Wayne, it can be declared vicious and impounded. An appeal process is also available to them.

Following discussion, the council voted unanimously to deny the request.

The issue of authorizing a "Pond Feasibility Study" was tabled at the council's last meeting.

Since that time, Wayne Mayor Cale Giese sent council members information he had received from a Lexington survey in regard to establishing a pond. 

Originally, the cost to have Olsson Engineering firm conduct the study was $11,800. However, additional testing would be required, raising the cost to $19,750.

Council member Jason Karsky, a member of the 'Stool to Cool' committee said the mayor had asked the committee to make a recommendation to the council and "if you (Mayor Giese) already had your mind made up, why have the committee? I feel we need the study to make an informed decision."

Mayor Giese said developing the lagoon area "is a large project and I would like to see it look neat with minimal changes. I know I  can save the city $20,000 by not having the study done."

Council member Eischeid said that he felt "if we don't do something to look into the possibilities, we are providing a dis-service to the community. This is something that will affect the city for generations to come."

Following the debate, council members voted 7-1 to move forward with the feasibility study. Council member Chris Woehler cast a vote against the study.

Also on Tuesday's agenda was a request from the Wayne Green Team to close westbound traffic on Third Street between Pearl and Lincoln Streets was approved. The request was for Saturday, Sept. 18 from 8 to 10 a.m. for an electronics recycling event.

Sandy Brown, representing the Green Team, told the council that this will be the eighth annual event and the group is budgeting for 30,000 lbs. of electronics to be recycled. A grant has been received from the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy. The majority of this money will be used to have the electronics hauled away.

In other action, the council approved the applications of three new members to the Wayne Volunteer Fire Department.

Hannah Keatts, formerly of Blair, and Alexander McCarty, formerly of Tekamah, were accepted as adult members of the department. Alexandra Harrell, a student at Wayne High School, as accepted as a cadet member of the department. She is the fifth cadet currently on the department and Fire Chief Phil Monahan said the department is allowed to have up to six cadets on the roster.

The Wayne City Council will hold a mini retreat and budget hearing on Tuesday, Aug. 31 at 5:30 at the Wayne Fire Hall. The next regular meeting of the council will be held Tuesday, Sept. 7 at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers