Retreat allows council to discuss city projects


By Clara Osten,


Months that contain five Tuesdays are designated as Wayne City Council Mini Retreat evenings and Jan. 30 served as the most recent retreat.

Council members gathered at the Freedom Park Shelter House to discuss topics ranging from snow removal to long-term planning for the city.

Street & Planning Director Joel Hansen spoke to the council and asked for their input on comments that had received from their constituents regarding snow removal during the past month's snow storms.

Several council members told Hansen he and those responsible for moving snow "did a great job" and expressed thanks for the number of hours put in to clear streets.

Hansen said that he was "not overly happy with the way some things went" and explained the timing of the storms and the fact that the snow got packed down in certain areas, making it difficult to remove.

Hansen also spent considerable time explaining the amount of salt and sand that have been put down on the streets and said "we won't have enough salt/sand mixture and probably can't get any more salt at this point."

He showed a number of pictures of the building which houses the mixture and note that there are issues with the building and a larger building would allow for more storage of the mixture in the future.

"I don't think we need more equipment and we won't solve anything tonight, but I wanted to make you (council) aware of the situation," Hansen said.

Water/Wastewater Superintendent Casey Junck shared information with the council on both the city's wate usage and the wells currently in service.

He said that in 2020 the city used 233 million gallons of water and that number rose to 301 million gallons in 2023. He expects that number to rise as new developments are built in the city and more people move to Wayne.

"Ten years ago the city had five wells that could be used. Since that time, one has been taken off-line and one is for emergency use only as it contains high levels of selenium. If something were to happen to one of wells we currently use, we could have to impose restrictions on water usage," Junck said.

He shared a history of when each  of the current wells were drilled and encouraged the council to consider starting discussion on drilling a new well.

Junck also talked about future projects for the water department, including replacing water mains in several places throughout the city. He said the last major project was in 2016.

Also on the retreat agenda was discussion on the Community Activity Center.

City Administrator Wes Blecke said the committee continues to meet and hopes to get "a good estimate" for the renovation of the FNBO building. He also said that should the city move forward with putting a sales tax issue on the ballot, another entity, such as the school, would also have to be a part of the process.

Considerable time during the retreat was spent on the topic of financing of various capitol projects in coming years.

Blecke shared information on paying off of a current $10 million bond with the current city sales tax and what that money is proposed to be used for. These include the City Hall/Police Building and several phases of the Prairie Park Project.

He also shared numbers on what it would look like if the city added an extra one-half cent sales tax to pay for the renovation/expansion of the Community Activity Center at the FNBO site.

He said the city is currently "in a unique situation because everything came up at the same time."

Blecke gave a timeline on when the city would have to have information to the county clerk to have a sales tax question on the May 2023 primary ballot and said that if the issue does not pass, the city would have to wait 24 months to put it before the voters again.

The Wayne City Council will next meet in regular session on Tuesday, Feb. 6 at 5:30 p.m. in city council chambers.