WAYNE – Last Tuesday, voters in the City of Wayne were asked to approve a 4-point economic development program.
However, one of the four propositions failed by just 3-votes. We asked Wayne City Administrator Wes Blecke how last week’s vote will affect economic development in the city.
Blecke said, “on the economic development side very good news for another 15 years. So, we know we have economic development funds coming in through sales tax that’ll enhance business loans and those types of things again. The rest of that ballot initiative goes to, other city projects, including property development, property acquisition, infrastructure, police, fire, a lot of different things.”
“The other one that passed was proposition B to implement the program for economic development and then proposition C, the half cent. When the bonds of the pool are paid off, that money will then be allocated towards parks and recreation improvements. And that can include a new building for parks and recreation. Right now, they’re sharing space with the street shop. Probably down in that old lagoon area so that’s one project. We’ve got lots of different things with parks and rec with playground equipment that’s so expensive, but it has to be certified and safe for the kids to play on. We’ve got ball field upgrades that we’d like to make.”
So why did the additional sales tax proposition fail?
Blecke added, “yeah, I think, I think a couple of reasons, it showed that voters were very interested in keeping what we already have intact and improving upon that. This economy is tough to be pushing out a new tax or an additional tax. So, I think the voters probably said, no, not right now. So, what does that do to us? That reprioritizes what we need to do. Obviously, the addition to the activity center won’t happen, at this point, at least not the way it was going to happen.”
“I think we’ll just have to circle back and see what the council would like to do with improvements down there. We know we have to make some improvements with HVAC and lighting so now it might have to be more of a mix of, sales tax and property taxes to do that upgrade or those fixes instead of just sales tax.”
Will the city bring the issue to the voters again, we asked the City Administrator, Wes Blecke.
Blecke mentioned, “you gotta wait 24 months roughly. So, we could go back and do that if the council wants to pursue that again. Is it a different project? I don’t know what they’ll necessarily do and it will also probably kind of depend on what the school does going forward, with any type of a bond issue that they might be putting forth.”
And does the city believe there is anything that could have been done to change the outcome of last Tuesday’s vote?
Blecke continued, “Yeah. You can always look back and say, oh, we should have done X, Y and Z. But from the city’s perspective, we, we put it on the ballot and then we can educate what it would be like. We can’t promote. Obviously, I personally was very much in favor of it, but that doesn’t matter, I can’t go out there and promote on behalf of the city.”
“So that’s economic development did a lot of that, changes, you know, I don’t know if you know, downscaling, you could do some of that, but your total price tag now in 2022, you could do it in 2024, just think of what the price will be then. We get into that problem sometimes where you don’t want to do it now because it’s too expensive.”
“So, you push it off. But when you push it off, it’s going to be way more expensive just because of inflation and things like that. So, yeah, I don’t think the project as designed will happen again in 2024, I just don’t see that happening. I think, the school is going to have to move forward with some of their improvements and that might not line up with what we would be looking at it.”
“But that’s not for me to decide that’s for council to take a good look at and I’m sure there’ll be talking a lot about it at retreats coming up and those types of things.”
Tomorrow, we’ll continue with part two of our Election and Economic Impact story as we talk to Wayne Area Economic Development Director Luke Virgil.