ARPA Funds Being Requested, Adult Diversion Program Potential Changes

WAYNE – As Wayne County still waits for their second half of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, two appointments highlighted requests during Tuesday morning’s regularly scheduled Wayne County Board of Commissioner’s meeting.

From the Wayne County Courthouse courtroom, Don Skokan represented Winside Fire and Rescue while Health Director of Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department, Julie Rother also approached the commissioners about ARPA funds.

Skokan has put in 32 years of his time with the department and went over information about Winside Fire and Rescue along with their cost breakdowns highlighting both new equipment and equipment they’ll be needing to update. Winside Fire and Rescue will be getting a new first response truck and would like assistance in equipping that unit as well as purchasing updated air packs.

As of May 22, Skokan stated across Nebraska there are 15,419 volunteer fire fighters and roughly 1,400 paid firefighters.

NNPHD Health Director, Rother handed out some information to the commissioners highlighting their annual expenditures and revenue along with a list of programming and services.

When COVID-19 hit, those programming and services were put to the side to allow NNPHD staff to focus on the pandemic. Now, NNPHD officials will be working to return those services but have incurred roughly $140,000 of non-reimbursable COVID charges since the ending of the CARES Act in June of 2021.

Rother is going to each of the four counties in the health district and asking for funds to cover the expenses which are not being reimbursed. So far, Cedar County has approved to their portion, Thurston County is still up in the air and Rother will be in Dixon County next week. The cost-share percentage for Wayne County would be around 32% broken down to $44,663.11 if approved.

NNPHD has also outgrown their building in Wayne as eight employees currently work from home since there is no space for them. The health department is currently going through several options of repairing the roof, looking at other facilities, cost to build new and possibly partnering with any City of Wayne facilities.

Again, Wayne County Board of Commissioners are still waiting on the second half of the ARPA funds to total the $1.8 million before they allow for applications to be sent in. The committee has been put on hold until the board knows how much they’ll be setting aside for the county.

Amy Miller, County Attorney, then brought forward information on potential changes to the Adult Diversion Program. Jill Belt has put in 15 years of work as the Division Officer but her needs for services at Faith Regional has increased and Faith Regional doesn’t have time to offer diversion services.

The Adult Diversion Program averages 20 people a year for ages 18 – 23 years old depending on the charge and is made for minor in possession, possession of marijuana, disturbing the piece and similar offenses but not DUI. The person attending diversion needs to keep clean for 90 days, write a paper, come to court and go through alcohol/drug evaluations to get the charge dismissed from their record.

Miller stated she’ll be pursuing Kyle Sperry on a contract basis who was a juvenile probation officer. Sperry would continue to work full-time at Heritage Homes as the Adult Diversion Program would be offered in the evening for about five hours a week.

The current cost for the Adult Diversion Program in Wayne County is $250. Miller would like to see that charge go up to around $300 or $350 to cover potential additional costs that the county would incur. More information will be updated in two weeks on logistics and insurance.

Two culvert bids were accepted by the county for each of the three districts. Total costs from B’s Enterprises, INC. was the low-bid awarded for $87,606 and be delivered in 6-8 weeks. Midwest Service and Sales Co. was the other bidder at $102.309.08.

Commissioners also talked more about the replacement of courthouse windows and are having issues with 12 of the round-top windows. Commissioners will be attending NACO and will be asking around to see what options they have before going out to hiring an engineer or architect.

Commissioners approved a pair of bond payments being Highway Allocation Fund Pledge Refunding Bond Series 2021 and 2019. The 2021 bond total will be $2,130 ($1,930 interest/$200 fee) and the 2019 bond total will be $12,568.75 ($12,368.75 interest/$200 fee) both scheduled for June 15, 2022.

MIPS was also approved to be the designated printer for the LB644 postcards which are currently being sent through the assessor’s office. These are in relation to property tax refunds and property tax requests.

The next regularly scheduled Wayne County Board of Commissioners meeting will be on Tuesday, June 21 at 9 a.m.