WAYNE – Several appointments were highlighted during Tuesday morning’s Wayne County Board of Commissioners regularly scheduled meeting.
From the Wayne County Courthouse courtroom, majority of the meeting was taken up by addressing two main access driveways that were installed on the Sholes Wind Project. David Levy with Baird Holm LLP is representing NextEra and is wanting to find a middle ground.
Mark Mainelli with Mainelli & Wagner Associates joined Wayne County Highway Superintendent, Mark Casey stating none of the driveways have been certified.
The problems have been narrowed down to turbine access driveways#17 and #35 as both would cause snow traps if the proposed hill cut is pursued. Both Mainelli and Casey brought up the idea of filling instead of cutting into a hill to address the line of site problem.
Levy will go back to NextEra with the potential solutions as the engineers from both NextEra and Wayne County will get together to find common ground. One re-proposed driveway would take away about a half an acre from one famer for an average of a pick-up truck a week. Levy stated NextEra wanted to keep the driveways where they were with low impact on landowners while the commissioners are worried about any accidents being caused on their roads.
A lot of compromise has happened between the two parities as they started with roughly 15 driveways with issues as NextEra will need to have all of the driveways certified and county commissioners were wanting warning signs to be installed as soon as possible for these driveways.
Tammy Paustian, Treasurer stated the interest rates have been very low and Wayne County is not getting interest checks like they used to. Previously it was around 2.23% and now it’s around 0.40%. She wanted to prepare the board that the interest income won’t be the same as in the past.
Some Certificates of Deposits (CDs) have matured from 24 months and Paustian will be reinvesting these for 12 months and has been calling around to see which banks offer the best interest rates hoping the rates will go up.
Also, Wayne County will look to receive $1.836 million of federal money after President Biden signed the 2580 COVID American Rescue Plan. Counties will receive their money about 90 days after the plan was signed. Wayne County is planning to hold on to those funds until they figure out how and what they can spend it on. The federal funds will need to be spent by the end of 2024.
Commissioners approved the resolution to deposit those funds once received. This money that will be placed in a separate account will make it easier for a federal audit and so local banks don’t have to worry about collateral.
One executive session was held pertaining to potential liquidated damages being charged to Herbst Construction for the Temme bridge. The other scheduled executive session for a liquor license was approved without going into the session for a new manager application at the Logan Valley Golf Course in Wakefield.
Utility permits were approved for Bauer Underground and Allo Communications to begin digging once the spring weather passes. The group will need to contact Commissioner Terry Sievers (District #1) before they start to dig.
Doug Elting with Berggren Architects updated the board on the courthouse restoration project. A final punch list will be submitted once all the items on the list are completed. The roof leak was figured out and fixed as now the board is making sure they don’t have to pay for a wrong item on the door. County Attorney, Amy Miller said from a legal standpoint ‘Wayne County will not pay for it’ as the original item received was not the one that was ordered. Whatever items that are currently in the door now is what Wayne County will pay as if there is a cost difference that price will be made up.
After refinancing Wayne County bonds, commissioners were also informed they’ll save $60,000 which was previously around $52,000 during the last meeting three weeks ago.
Wayne County Emergency Manager, Nic Kemnitz also provided the board updates on his busy month. He’ll will be joining Wakefield, Wayne and Winside schools in the Emergency Operations Planning Training being hosted by the State of Nebraska through Zoom on Wednesday and Thursday, April 7 – 8 from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. each day.
Kemnitz will also attend the Nebraska Association of Emergency Managers Conference in Grand Island April 14 – 16; host an Emergency Management Presentation at County Government Day at the National Guard Armory on April 19; take part in an Emergency Response Planning Meeting with several counties on April 22 at 7 p.m. from the Wayne Fire Hall in preparation for the upcoming MayDay STOL Event (April 28 – May 1) and participate in the Rural Region One Medial Response System (RROMRS) Medical Burn Surge Exercise on April 29 from 9 a.m. until noon operating from the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and coordinating with Providence Medical Center during the exercise.
Statewide COVID hepatizations have increased from 102 on March 29 to 148 on April 5 as local numbers have been holding steady. Also, PPE deliveries for the Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department Health District have been moved to monthly shipments instead of weekly.
Lodging Tax Grant Applications approved by the board from recommendations by the Wayne County Convention & Visitors Bureau: Total $14,300
Cars-N-Carroll Show & Shine (September 26): $1,300
Gene Topp Memorial Car Show (June 20): $500
Winside Old Settlers & School Alumni Banquet (June 18 – 20): $1,500
Wayne County Fair radio advertising (July 22 – 25): $2,000
Wayne County Fair book printing (July 22 – 25): $2,000
Advertising Wayne County in News Channel Nebraska ‘Best of Northeast Nebraska Backroads Passport Program: $3,000
Wayne Area Economic Development Henoween promotion (July 9): $2,000
Wayne Chicken Show promotion (July 9 – 11): $2,000
The next Wayne County Board of Commissioners regularly scheduled meeting will be on Tuesday, April 20 at 9 a.m.