City Council Tables Pond Feasibility Study, Apply For Public Works CDBG Funds For College Hill Park

WAYNE – A final budget work session provided updates towards the end of the regularly scheduled Wayne City Council meeting on Tuesday which was taken up mostly about approving a pond feasibility study at the old lagoon.

From the council chambers inside the City Hall, a resolution was first approved following a public hearing to authorize the chief elected official to sign an application for Community Development Block Grant – Public Works Funds in the amount of $303,000.

Jan Merrill with the Northeast Nebraska Economic Development District presented information that $268,000 of the amount would be used to repurpose the shower house. This will be used by the community as a four-season recreational facility and become the trailhead for the City of Wayne’s trail system. Merrill is hoping to hear back from the grant application in either October or November.

City Administrator, Wes Blecke said they would plan on getting bids right away if they were funded.

“You could see action being taken up there as soon as next Spring if we’re funded,” said Blecke. “If we’re not funded, then the council has to decide do we want to continue to go forward with it at that type of a price tag or do we want to cut something back.”

The location would be the College Hill Park bathhouse with local matching funds only being $80,400.

Majority of the meeting was taken up by over an hour of discussion for the “Pond Feasibility Study” provided by Olsson with a price tag of $11,800. The ‘Stool to Cool’ committee recently completed a survey which highlighted three items that were the most mentioned being a pond, camper pads and additional softball and baseball fields. There was a total of 88 respondents which led to the feasibility study.

Two questions Mayor Cale Giese wanted answered was how much water drains naturally currently and how much would the city have to pump into the pond.

Blecke added Mayor Giese had several concerns on the scope of services.

“He’s working on that kind of on the side now trying to council information on that,” Blecke added. “A lot of discussion on if you say no to a pond right now and don’t do some type of a study are you doing the service to the tax payer and to those that would like to see it.”

The proposal was then tabled so these questions could be answered by the City of Wayne engineer of JEO.

Luke Virgil, Executive Director with Wayne Area Economic Development also gave his semi-annual report on the LB840 Fund. This sales tax fund goes towards WAED and can only collect $3.2 million with the excess that is collected being unrestricted that could then be used for parks, a fire truck or other items. Blecke mentioned there is about $400,000 in the fund.

“There is money available,” Blecke mentioned. “So, if you have a business idea and if you need the incentive, the low-interest loan, come talk to Luke Virgil with the Chamber and Economic Development office and he’ll go through the paperwork.”

In the last six months, the Revolving Loan Fund had one approval for an $85,000 low interest loan to Short Stop Wayne (formerly G’s Quick Stop) for business expansion and property improvement.

The purchase of a 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe was also approved for the police department as funds were in the budget for this year and next. There is about a six month wait for new vehicles as the state bid came through Arnie’s Ford in Wayne for the price of $38,837. This will replace a 2006 vehicle that doesn’t have a lot of miles but roughly 7,700 hours of idle time which equates to between 255,000 to 462,000 miles.

The budget work session then closed out Tuesday evening’s agenda with updates provided by the Wayne Senior Center, Wayne Public Library, streets department, electric department and technology updates.

The next regularly scheduled Wayne City Council meeting will be on Tuesday, August 17 at 5:30 p.m. Councilmembers will also meet on Tuesday, August 31 from the Wayne Fire Hall at 5:30 p.m. for their mini-retreat discussing public facilities and buildings. The retreat will begin with an additional state-mandated public hearing for the budget process with time being limited to each person who would like to speak. The budget hearing to approve the budget will be scheduled for the Tuesday, September 7 meeting.