Wakefield City Council Works Through Packed Agenda

Wakefield City Council Works Through Packed Agenda
Wakefield CRA chairman Sam Utecht asks the city council for guidance at Wednesday night's meeting.

WAKEFIELD – Wakefield’s City Council worked through a packed agenda Wednesday night, passing several ordinances and resolutions, as well as discussing housing projects and more.

The City’s One & Six Year Street Improvement plan was passed unanimously after discussion. On the One Year plan is a paving project on East 9th Street that is set to cost around $300,000. Council member Val Bard said the Community Redevelopment Authority (CRA) has pledged $100,000 to the project while the Sales Tax Committee has pledged $150,000.

A public hearing was held for the Workforce Housing Incentive Plan. Only one person spoke in favor of the plan before the hearing was closed. The council voted unanimously to approve the plan and adopt the corresponding resolution.

An ordinance requiring the City Treasurer and City Clerk to be bonded was amended to allow those two positions and every other City employee that handles money to be covered by commercial crime insurance for up to $25,000.

Jack Schlickbernd presented his Eagle Scout project to the council. He has been raising funds to install a POW/MIA chair at the baseball park. Schlickbernd is working with the Gilchrist Foundation, who has agreed to match funds $2,500 for the project.

Chad Sebade asked the council for an extension on a construction project. Sebade was granted permission to start building a home for potential buyers 23 months ago. His deadline to be done was December of this year, with a $100 per day late charge to begin after that. He told the council that because he given permission to begin in late fall, it was too late for him to do construction the first winter, then supply delays thanks to COVID-19 slowed him down. Because of that, he was asking for the overage fees to be waived. Three council members spoke up to say they wanted to see some sort of penalty for the late finish before Ross Hansen proposed a deal, to charge Sebade $10 per day, with a catch.

“If it’s done within six month, by July, you don’t pay it,” Hansen said. “If it’s not done, we’ll retro-bill that $10 from July on to $100 a day.”

CRA chairman Sam Utecht addressed the council asking for guidance on how to deal with homeowner who have property that is either vacant or needs to be condemned. Bard and mayor Paul Eaton both stressed the importance of treating homeowners with respect, saying that ultimately if a homeowner doesn’t want to sell or give up a lot, that is their prerogative. Following city codes regarding property was discussed as well.

A $5,000 LB-840 loan was approved for business start up costs during the meeting. Council member and Wakefield Volunteer Fire Department member Larry Soderberg informed the council the department was looking for lots for a possible new station, and Wakefield Progressive Director Megan Weaver said the sole hotel/motel investor was doing a new study. A three percent wage increase for full-time City employees was also made official.

The next regularly scheduled Wakefield City Council meeting will be held Wednesday, November 10 at the Wakefield Civic Center at 5:30 p.m.