Commissioners closing in on road use agreement, courthouse project completion

The Wayne County Commissioners met July 7 at the Public Safety Annex to discuss a number of issues including long-standing agenda items like the courthouse restoration project and a road usage agreement with TradeWind Energy.

Steve Muir of Elkhorn Valley Insurance delivered some bad news about the County's group health insurance renewal. After several years of marginal rate increases, next year's premiums are set to increase by nearly 22 percent for employees.

"Unfortunately, every one out of 10 years, you get a tough year when the company asks for more than usual," Muir told the commissioners.

Despite the rate increase Muir told the commissioners he still thought United Health Care was the best option for County employees.

"I understand it's tough," he said. "I snooped around and there aren't really other options." 

During the discussion County employees indicated they wished to stay with United and were willing to negotiate the possibility of paying more of the share of their premium if the group stays with the company. The commissioners voted unanimously to renew and take time during budget sessions to find funds for the increase.

Doug Elting, with Berggren Architects and representatives with Kingery Construction gave an update on the courthouse restoration project. Commissioners were told the project is wrapping up. Still to be done is the installation of snow guards, work on the oriels, widening sections of sidewalks and the installation of doors, trim and windows. Re-seeding and dirt work on the courthouse lawn will also have to be done to repair damage from equipment. A motion to install a door bumper not to exceed $450 was approved.

After multiple months of work, the Wayne County Commissioners agreed that they are now closer to approving a road usage agreement with TradeWind Energy for the Haystack project. Highway Superintendent Mark Casey, Wayne County Attorney Amy Miller and Haystack project manager Nick Coil discussed the new draft of the agreement. Miller and Coil had gone over multiple old versions of the agreement point by point to come up with a clean copy that both parties could be happy with. TradeWind said they will agree to keep a gravel surplus, repair any road issues the County identifies within 24 hours, give 180 days notice at 30 percent design phase and 60 days notice for final design before work will begin, among other items that had previously tripped up the agreement.

Coil and Miller will continue to work on one item in the agreement, the placement of transmission lines near County right-of-ways to avoid ice shed. It was also pointed out to Coil that part of the road usage plans fell into Cedar County, so the Wayne County Commissioners would not be able to speak for those roads.

Casey gave the commissioners an update from his office. With construction on the Temme bridge now complete, contractor Herbst Construction is asking the County to forgive a portion of fees due to project running over 100 days past the agreed upon end date. Casey told the commissioner he was not willing to do so because the company took on other projects knowing they had already committed to the bridge work.

The commissioners approved moving a half day courthouse closure for the Wayne County Fair to Christmas Eve, giving County employees a full day off for the holiday. Pat Brentlinger told the commissioners that he'd like to gather quotes for replacing the chiller system, which has been malfunctioning lately. Commissioners also approved funds from the Wayne County Convention and Visitor's Bureau for the Wayne Chicken Show Poker Run, Bressler-Fest, Art Connetctions, Gene Topp Memorial Car Show (if held), Little Red Hen Theatre, Winside Old Settlers (if held), Balloons N BBQ and the Wayne Chicken Show.

The next Wayne County Commissioners meeting will be on Tuesday, July 21 at 9 a.m. in the district courtroom in the Wayne County Courthouse.

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Wayne, NE 68787
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