WAYNE – Councilmembers with the City of Wayne met Tuesday evening during their regularly scheduled meeting to discuss the possibility of opening city services.
Mayor Cale Giese stated in the meeting that he would like to plan on the next time council meets on June 2, the group would meet in person at the fire hall while the public and non-members of the press will still have the option of joining the meeting electronically.
Early in the meeting, councilmembers got an update from Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department Health Director, Julie Rother. Directed Health Measures (DHMs) will start to relax unless the numbers start to rise over the next couple weeks but Rother said there continues to be a need to follow social distancing guidelines.
“I think what I’ve seen out in the public has been difficult for me to watch,” said Rother. “Sometimes people forget that we still need to do the social distancing. Even though the relaxing of the Directed Health Measures is happening, that doesn’t mean we can relax our social distancing.”
Nebraskans need to continue to keep a six-foot distance from other people, don’t go out when they’re sick, monitor symptoms at least twice a day and wearing a face mask in public is helpful as it cuts down on risk.
Governor Ricketts has also requested Taskforce groups to be put together for youth sports and swimming pools. Those groups are starting to meet and will be working on getting guidance out before the current DHMs expire.
The next update came from City Administrator, Wes Blecke regarding city services as City Hall employees were working split shifts but are back to full force now. City staff plans on inviting the public on a scheduled basis into City Hall next week as six-foot distancing with marks on the floor for utility billing and the police department are in place. Then on June 1 it will be business as usual with restrictions for the City of Wayne.
Moving into the opening of swimming pools, the League of Nebraska Municipality came out with a recommendation of not to open pools for the summer based on their insurance carrier.
Blecke added the City of Wayne’s insurance carrier had no recommendation.
“They say you can do it as long as you’re abiding by CDC guidelines,” Blecke added. “Kind of what Julie was saying. Trying to work with communities to allow it, just to make sure that you’re doing everything you can to abide by those guidelines.”
The swimming pool in Wayne will be filled but as for right now only for maintenance reasons.
Parks & Recreation Director at the Community Activity Center, Lowell Heggemeyer plans on power washing the pool to start cleaning it out and filling is up as soon as they can.
“Then I’ve got some maintenance work that I have to have done on the heat pumps,” said Heggemeyer. “So, that’s another reason I’d like to get it filled up and get all six heat pumps going so the pool could actually be warm right away.”
Most of the communities in Nebraska have either decided to delay or not to open as several groups are meeting over the next week. Close to 100 different communities, only four planned on opening June 1.
For youth sports, if they’re allowed, Blecke mentioned the associations would be responsible for the city facilities.
“Which we in essence do that with our Memorandum of Understanding with our associations already,” Blecke mentioned. “But again, most of the communities, opposite of the pool, would be that most are going to allow it but then turn things over to their associations to make sure they’re abiding by the governor’s Directed Health Measures.”
City staff will be joined by the Wayne Baseball and Softball Associations during a conference call on Thursday, May 21 to discuss youth sports.
An ordinance seeking approval for its third and final reading was also tabled for another 30 days until the second meeting in June. Williams Form Engineering approached Blecke and said they needed about a month to figure out a solution on parking.
Wayne Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief, Phil Monahan was also appointed for his eighth year.
The next regularly scheduled Wayne City Council meeting will be held at the Wayne Fire Hall located at 510 Tomar Drive at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 2. Again, only council, city staff and media will be allowed in following the social distancing guidelines. Members of the public will still have to visit cityofwayne.org and select the ‘Virtual Meetings’ tab under the ‘Government’ dropdown. The council retreat date was also set for June 30 at 5 p.m. at the Wayne Fire Hall.