Council Continues Discussion Of Ameritas Property, Pay Out Police Dispatcher Vacation Time

WAYNE – Majority of Tuesday night’s regularly scheduled Wayne City Council meeting was held in executive session for discussion of the future of the Ameritas Corporation building and city hall.

From the council chamber inside City Hall, first a Wayne Volunteer Fire Department application for membership of Aidan Dowling was approved. Dowling, a Criminal Justice major, is a freshman at Wayne State College and wanted to get more involved.

Council then authorized City Administrator Wes Blecke, to temporarily pay out vacation leave for police Dispatchers.

The City of Wayne manual allows staff to accumulate 280 hours of vacation time and once you hit 280, personnel would lose those hours. Blecke said there are currently three trained dispatchers of the normal five so they are unable to take vacation time.

“We have one dispatcher that is at the max and actually has lost a little bit,” said Blecke. “Then the other two are nearing that because the longevity of their services is amazing. So, they are very close as well. So, for the next six months if they accrue more than that they can and we’ll pay it out.”

The same has been done for patrol officers about a year ago when they were short-staffed. The City of Wayne continues to look for dispatchers.

Mytzy Rodriguez-Kufner then updated council on what Wayne Community Housing is working on including the LB518 Funds (Rural Workforce Housing Funds).

A trio of items pertained to the Northeast Nebraska Economic Development District and grants received by the City of Wayne. The first public hearing in a prior meeting focused on the sidewalk trail and drainage area from the cemetery to Bomgaars.

A second public hearing was held Tuesday evening to put in an additional match to complete the entire project. The City of Wayne will provide a minimum of $475,000 in matching funds for a total project cost of $908,000.

Another resolution was approved for NENEDD being oversight for a different grant that the City of Wayne is administering at Freedom Park.

Four items were added to the agenda on Monday for Chicago and Lincoln Street Projects. Each had a change order along with a payment for each project to Robert Woehler & Sons Construction, Inc. Total Chicago Street change orders added up to around $12,000 which included some reductions along with the Lincoln Street Project for two temporary water stops before valves will be installed to take their place.

The engineer for the Lincoln Street Project was also asking for more funds for oversight.

“Our hope was that the engineer could do both projects kind of at once,” Blecke added. “Well contractor, bid one and then bid the other and actually pulled off the Chicago Street project and then came back to the Lincoln (project). So, Olsson’s oversight was a little different and had to make more trips out.”

Oversight totaled $40,000 for Chicago Street and $10,000 for Lincoln Street. Olsson is also the engineer for the Jimmy John’s property on 7th Street and have been good to work with.

A 2023 3/4 ton regular cab Ford F-250 pickup was also approved for $48,000 through a state bid which will replace a 1990 vehicle.

Councilmember Brent Pick serves on the Community Facility group for the Wayne Community Schools group and stated there’ll be a meeting on November 28 with more decisions. The school district continues to show interest in the west property to the Community Activity Center parking lot.

Methodist Church in Wayne will be hosting a congregational vote in early December whether to sell property to the City of Wayne for a new City Hall all contingent on acquiring the Ameritas property.

“No action was taken on the Ameritas property; we did go into closed session to talk about that,” Blecke mentioned. “We’re trying to massage numbers to see what it would cost to actually go into that building, renovate that building to what we would need and put up a lot of walls. So, the council is going to chew on those numbers for a while and hopefully at the retreat in two weeks we’ll discuss that again.”

Council is looking at all options and what is best for the City of Wayne as costs are driving those discussions.

A mini retreat is being scheduled for Tuesday, November 29 the Fire Hall as this meeting will also feature the Housing Summit 2.0 discussion which was rescheduled from last month.

The next regularly scheduled Wayne City Council meeting will be on Tuesday, December 6 at 5:30 p.m.

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