Preliminary Tax Requests Addressed, Commissioners Schedule Budget Work Session

WAYNE – Budget requests and updates were provided to the Wayne County Board of Commissioners during their regularly scheduled Tuesday morning meeting.

From the Wayne County Courthouse courtroom, the board first heard from the Wayne County Library Association.

Heather Headley, Wayne Public Library Director was joined by Lara Lanphear, Lied Winside Public Library Director and both thanked the board for the previous funds. The Wayne County Library Association’s 2022 tax request remained the same as last year being $13,000.

Headley stated in Wayne they’re starting to see a rebound in numbers from the pandemic. Their online database has doubled from last year’s usage as the Wayne Public Library goes through roughly 900 items a month online. Funds will also go towards the expansion of electronic access.

Lanphear added funds provided assistance with upgrades to library computers and their library collection.

Several of the Wayne County Ag Society and fair board members were also present following a successful 100th annual Wayne County Fair. Saturday night’s concert marked one of their biggest gates. The 4-H/FFA numbers continue to be strong as livestock numbers were slightly down this year due to the heat.

The Ag Society is requesting a $35,000 increase in their tax request for a total of $160,000. The extra funds would assist with a $25,000 yearly expense after purchasing 22 acres of land to the west of the fairgrounds (which was utilized for overflow parking) along with the handicap accessible bathrooms in the Expo Center.

Future projects include turning the old Expo Center bathrooms into a kitchenette, updating the restrooms near the Leland Herman Memorial Arena, adding to the sheep barn, update the electricity shortage with more power needed and a new 4-H building which already has roughly $16,000 in donations. It was also mentioned there will be a new carnival next year during the 101st Wayne County Fair.

The board wants to continue to make their annual event a family friendly fair and appreciate all the volunteer hours put in by their members and others as well as personal equipment being put on display at the fair.

Six of the seven preliminary tax dollar requests had their allocation resolutions adopted by the Wayne County Board of Commissioners. They included the library (no change at $13,000); Carroll Fire District #1 ($379 increase at $80,500); Wayne Fire District #2 ($2,600 increase at $92,600); Hoskins Fire District #3 ($20,000 increase at $85,500) in budgeting for a new tanker truck; Winside Fire District #4 (no change at $49,885) and the Wakefield Fire District #9 ($102,000) for multiple counties.

The lone item tabled was for the $160,000 ($35,000 increase) for the Ag Society which will be discussed further at an upcoming budget work session.

Nic Kemnitz, Wayne County Emergency Manager, was notified by NEMA (Nebraska Emergency Management Agency) that the Federal Disaster request for the May 12 storm event was approved. Kemnitz stated they filed on behalf of Northeast Power in assistance with downed power line and power pole damages.

Kemnitz also mentioned he’ll have to send in the EOC Trailer to check on their air conditioning unit. The unit popped the breaker twice on Saturday of the Wayne County Fair. Kemnitz is leaning towards the heat was the main cause but stated it runs on a 30 amp service and they could put a second unit on or run a generator if more power is needed.

Wayne County Board of Commissioners are also invited to an August 11 exercise at Matheson Gas in the Hoskins Fire District (near Norfolk/Stanton County). The check-in will be at 11:30 a.m. with the event lasting until 4 p.m. next Thursday.

Street and Planning Director with the City of Wayne, Joel Hansen brought forward information on the plat of Hochstein Estates. This subdivision needs county approval and will have its 10 acres broken down into three lots along with a name change. No road maintenance will be needed as all three lots will have access to county roads. The board approved the replat.

ARPA Fund usage was again briefly discussed as the board is wanting to figure out where the county could benefit the most before allowing an application to be filled out. Replacing courthouse windows and purchasing a cruiser for the Sheriff’s department were among topics of discussion.

Board members recessed their meeting for a budget work session slated for Wednesday, August 10 at 9 a.m. in the courthouse.

The next regularly scheduled Wayne County Board of Commissioners meeting will be on Tuesday, August 16 at 9 a.m.