Water, LB840 loans on council agenda


From water to zoning, and from the purchase of property to the re-payment of LB840 loans, the Wayne City Council dealt with a wide variety of items during the first meeting of 2021.

Casey Junck, Water/Wastewater Superintendent, presented a report on the activities taking place in his department.

He told the council his department includes five employees, all who hold the three certifications required by the state. Several also have CDL licenses for driving trucks when needed.

Junck shared with the council that, during 2020, the city pumped 275,700,000 gallons of water from city wells and had 186,702,000 gallons of water go through the wastewater system. 

Upgrades to the water department's metering system are on the list of upcoming projects. Junck said the changes will allow department employees to read meters electronically and cut down on both the time and the number of people needed to complete the monthly project.

The majority of Junck's report centered on the transmission main that was installed last summer from the city well north of Wayne. Water samples from the water main have not met state requirements and have resulted in the need to chlorinate the city's water.

Junck is working with the engineer on the project and the contractor to determine how the problem can be fixed. He also said should the city decide to chlorinate the water on a continuous basis, the cost per gallon of chlorine would be less.

Updates on the situation will be presented to the council at a future meeting.

After a public hearing on the Planning Commission's recommendation to amend the city's Future Land Use Map, an ordinance was passed to approve the request. The three readings of the ordinance were waived.

The changes will also allow for the amending of the city's zoning map in regard to several properties near the corner of Third and Windom Streets. Diana Zach requested the changes in zoning for the properties so a storage building can be built on her property and have room for the setbacks needed. 

The three readings of this ordinance were also waived.

Following a public hearing in which no one spoke, the council voted to move forward with the acquisition of Tax Lot 22 from the Community Redevelopment Authority for $24,300.

The city will possibly use the property as a negotiating tool for the acquisition of other property in the area.

Resolution 2021-3 was approved on a unanimous vote. It will create an agreement between the city of Wayne and Allo Communications LLC for work the company is planning to do in regard to installing an all fiber network that would provide cable TV, internet and phone service to Wayne.

Discussion centered on the cost of the permits the city is requiring of the company and the difference in the costs to other, similar companies.

Wayne Area Economic Development Director Luke Virgil spoke to the council on the possibility of changing the due dates on the city of Wayne's LB 8400 loans in light of economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 7, 2020 the council voted to suspend these payments, on a case-by-case basis and a request from the individual business owners, until Feb. 28, 2021.

Virgil told the council there are 21 businesses that currently have LB840 loans and he has talked to each of these. Several have indicated the desire to have some flexibility in re-paying the loans.

It was noted that the city's number one priority is "keeping these businesses open. Our second priority is to get the money back so we can re-use it."

Following discussion, it was suggested that the businesses be granted a 30-month window from the start of the pandemic (March 2020) to make payments. This would allow businesses until September of 2022 to recover from the pandemic. Each business owner would be required to come to the city to work out details of the plan for re-payment.

Council members went into executive session to receive an update on a federal lawsuit involving the Wayne Police Department.

The Wayne City Council will next meet in regular session on Tuesday, Jan. 19 at 5:30 p.m. at the Wayne Community Activity Center.