Council Break Down Sales Tax Ballot Question, Dorey Appointed As Councilmember In Ward 3

WAYNE – A pair of discussion items took up most of the regularly scheduled Wayne City Council meeting Tuesday evening pertaining to a “Sales Tax” ballot question and joint meeting with the CRA.

From the council chambers inside City Hall, Mayor Cale Giese appointed Dallas Dorey in the final vacant council set. Dorey will join Jason Karsky and serve Ward 3 in place of Dwaine Spieker who had to step away due to moving out of the ward, still in town.

A total of four people reached out for ward 2 where Brent Pick was appointed earlier this month and seven individuals contacted the mayor for ward 3.

Mike Powicki, serving as an At-Large member of Community Redevelopment Authority, spoke to the board on their goals and wanted council to tell the CRA if they’re heading in the right direction and looking for input.

Administrator Wes Blecke also gave a few different options on what adding an extra half percent (0.5 cents) to the sales tax would look like.

Blecke said the group is trying to figure out if the voter wants the entire package to come at them in one time.

“Do they want to see the potential half cent increase in the Primary’s here in May,” said Blecke. “Or do they want to see everything at once. We have to do some strategizing on what’s the best way to approach that.”

Currently the 1.5% (or 1.5 cents) sales tax is broken down into three components. A half percent goes to the bond payments on the pool which are set to be paid off around 2024-25 after the City of Wayne refinanced to a 0.85% interest rate. The other one percent, which will sunset in 2024, is then split with 60% going to Capital Improvement (infratsture, roads, park improvement and swimming pool projects) and 40% for LB840 (Economic Development).

The City of Wayne can only go up to a 2% Sale Tax.

A step that the City of Wayne will have to also take would be creating a ‘Separate Administrative Entity’ with another group. This inter-local will need to include a political sub-division.

Mayor Giese added the community draws people in for tournaments, festivals and more.

“So, you’ve got a community where it’s kind of a destination where people are coming,” Giese added. “And if you can capture their taxes through sales tax, is the easiest way, then we can benefit from projects as a community that we don’t have to necessarily pay for.”

Superintendent of Wayne Community Schools, Mark Lenihan and board member Lynn Junck also spoke on behalf of the Board of Education. The group recently concluded their community engagements meetings and will be utilizing information from surveys to continue to work on their Strategic Plan that started prior to the COVID-19 shutdown over two years ago.

Council stated a few of their members could attend a meeting with other Board of Education members to answer further questions.

Reach out to your council representatives or contact City Hall for more information. Council will not decide this but can put it on the ballot for the public to decide.

Council also approved the second reading of adopting the official City of Wayne Ward map. Two square blocks moved from ward three into ward four on the updated map. The wards have to be similar without splitting up households or neighborhoods. There’ll be a third reading during the next meeting.

A $97,400 quote for a new backhoe loader from Murphy Tractor & Equipment (Sioux City, IA) was then approved. A third of each payment will come from the water, sewer and electric distribution departments which were in their budgets. The John Deere will also have a five-year extended warranty.

Another discussion item that was addressed included staff direction for gathering information on changing from wards to at-large. Legally, a community the size of Wayne has to have ward representation but are also allowed to have up to four at-large. Pros and cons were brought forward by council with no decision made.

Voters can petition city government to put it on the ballot or the City Council can choose to do so. The conversation has come up from the recent turnover in councilmembers.

Council is looking for input from the public if this is put on the ballot.

The next regularly scheduled Wayne City Council meeting will be on Tuesday, December 7 at 5:30 p.m.

View Interview: Wes Blecke and Cale Giese.