Wakefield Council Holds On Gun Range, Approves New Health Insurance For Employees

WAKEFIELD – The city of Wakefield held their June meeting at the Wakefield Civic Center amongst the paving project that started there Wednesday. Agenda items discussed included a quarterly report from Wakefield Health Care Center, the potential shooting range at the city landfill site, as well as updates on several projects.

The meeting began with a report from Traci Haglund, Wakefield Health Care Center administrator. Haglund told the council that currently there are 34 residents in the nursing home and 13 in assisted living. She also said that staffing has been good. She highlighted an upcoming project to switch the lighting to LED and said so far, financially things are going well.

“For March, we had a $3,000 profit and April was a $28,000 profit, so year-to-date at the end of April it was a $212,000 profit,” Haglund said.

The two interns from the UNL Rural Fellows Program introduced themselves to the council and officially asked to close several streets on Saturday, July 2 for a 5K organized by Wakefield Progressive. Additionally, the students gave a brief overview of the work they’ll be doing including working to promote the city of Wakefield and completing a demographic survey to hopefully aid in future grant applications.

No action was taken, but a discussion about a potential gun range on city property was held. For the past few meeting, the council has considered allowing Red’s Range, a shooting range to be on landfill property. Mayor Paul Eaton and City Clerk Pam Vander Veen reached out to the League of Municipalities to see what liability the city would potentially carry if the project were to go forward. Vander Veen told the council they learned that the situation is a huge gray area due to the fact that the range would be on city owned property that is technically outside of city limits. Because of that, the county would typically have final say on regulations, however Dixon County has no zoning therefore, jurisdiction goes further up the chain.

“What they kind of do is revert to the Game & Parks Committee out of Lincoln who then defers to the NRA,” Vander Veen said. “The NRA has an actual book that is called ‘A Guide to Planning and Construction’ that tells you what is expected for a gun range.”

Because more organizations need to be involved than expected, the council decided to take time to hear from all of the necessary authorities before moving forward.

An LB840 loan of $25,000 for Y&J Trucking LLC was approved as was the decision to change the health insurance plan for full time city employees. The council voted unanimously to go through the League Insurance Government Health Team, to offer health insurance as well as life and long-term disability that would save the city around $620 a month. In turn, the employees on the city’s insurance plan will have a less expensive policy with better coverage than they have currently. Public hearings for amending zoning regulations to add motels and hotels to C-2 General Commercial districts and to rezone real estate at 109 and 111 East 3rd Streets from R-2 Residential to C-1 Central Commercial District were set for the July council meeting.

The next regularly scheduled Wakefield City Council meeting will be held at the Civic Center on Wednesday, July 13 at 5:30 p.m.