Commissioners Approve Health Insurance Renewal, Continue To Discuss ARPA Funds

WAYNE – From a few appointments and further discussion on what to do with the ARPA funds, the Wayne County Board of Commissioners regularly scheduled meeting was held Tuesday morning.

From the Wayne County Courthouse courtroom, each of the district commissioners began with a few updates as no other offices approached the board.

In District 1 for Terry Sievers they continue to work on maintaining the roads; for District 2 of Dean Burbach he stated the wind farm has moved out and for District 3 of Jim Rabe his crew is working on removing trees.

A pair of lots located in the Tuffern Blue Estates Subdivision will be combined into one lot as Lucas Thompson approached the board to vacate the 12-foot utility easement between the lots. Thompson still had to go in front of council Tuesday evening but since the property is also inside Wayne County, the Commissioners also approved the request.

Steve Muir with Elkhorn Valley Insurance then brought forward information about a health insurance renewal with United Healthcare. Muir stated the renewal package was around a 9.6% increase with just a few minor changes for the pharmacy and drug plan changes as a drug on tier I could have moved up to tier II which would cause a slight increase in a co-pay. Also, life insurance saw a roughly 5.9% increase.

The board approved the insurance renewal which will begin September 1, 2022.

County Attorney, Amy Miller shared a document with the board about the Adult Diversion Program. She talked with Kyle Sperry who’ll be the new Adult Diversion Coordinator replacing Jill Belt since Faith Regional doesn’t want to utilize Jill for that program anymore.

Sperry was on his way back from serving two weeks of active duty but will plan on attending the next commissioners meeting as Miller will seek final approval for the transition which would begin on August 1.

The cost for the Adult Diversion Program in Wayne County will increase from $250 to $350 as court fees have gone up for the minor offenses. Wayne County will be funded $50 with the remaining going to Sperry for his services. The Adult Division Program averages 20-25 people a year and is offered to those age 18 – 22/23 years of age to allow individuals to complete college without a minor criminal record. The individual will attend court and start the 90-day process. If they pass the one-time offered program, they’ll get the minor offense off their record but if they don’t, they’d attend their second court date.

Another lengthy discussion about Wayne County ARPA Funds closed out the meeting. Earlier this month, Wayne County received the second half totaling $1.8 million which is now open to assist government services, not just for COVID.

The Commissioners agreed they needed to get back to a process but also brought up the possibility of getting part of or most of the courthouse restoration project reimbursed. County Clerk, Deb Finn was concerned about the Historical Tax Credits that Wayne County was receiving from that project.

Work for the courthouse began in 2019 as ARPA Funds can only go towards expenses after March of 2020.

Sandra Hansen, Disaster Recovery Specialist stated that if the request is denied down the road, those funds would be lost and won’t be available to use.

ARPA Funds need to be obligated by 2024 and used by 2026.

More ARPA Fund discussion will continue as Commissioner Sievers is wanting to gather all the county officials back together as more updates seem to change with the process. The board also wants to move forward on a few of the county requests and will have those groups fill out a form to be looked at by the Wayne County Board of Commissioners.

Commissioners also re-appointed Ken Olin to a five-year term on the Veterans Service Committee beginning July 1, 2022.

A trio of fund transfer resolutions were approved. Commissioners will transfer $500,000 from the Inheritance Tax Fund to the General Fund as well as transfer two million dollars from the General Fund to the County Road/Bridge Fund. The transfer of unused funds from the County Road/Bridge Fund to the Snow Removal & Equipment Fund was also approved with an amount to be determined at a later date.

The next regularly scheduled Wayne County Board of Commissioners meeting will be on Tuesday, July 5 at 9 a.m.