Road Haul Agreement discussed at commissioners meeting

The Wayne County Board of Equalization and Board of Commissioners met April 7 from the Public Safety Annex and broadcast their meeting online via Zoom. Among topics of discussion were tax exemptions, County bridge projects and a Road Haul Agreement with TradeWind Energy.

The Board of Equalization met first to discuss property tax exemptions for the old Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church parsonage in Hoskins and the Wayne Area Economic Development building in Wayne. Assessor Dawn Duffy denied the parsonage a tax exemption, which the commissioners upheld. The WAED office has never been taxed and Duffy said she'd rather not tax it, but the State of Nebraska has pushed her to either assess it taxable value. The exemption was denied and WAED will need to seek an appeal through the Nebraska Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC).

The commissioners met with Wayne County emergency manager Nic Kemnitz asking them to approve the COVID-19 disaster declaration so the County can receive federal aid. The commissioners approved.

A bid from B's Enterprise, Inc. for $98,644 for a bridge project in both Wayne and Thurston Counties was approved. The bid was the second lowest, but Wayne County highway superintendent Mark Casey told the commissioners that he felt they were still complying with the County Purchasing Act because the county has found the low-bid company's work to be insufficient in the past. Casey requested the commissioners sign a Program Agreement with Nebraska Department of Roads for another bridge project that would remove three bridges in the county and replace one. The State will reimburse the County for 55 percent of the project.

A Road Haul Agreement between Wayne County and TradeWind Energy took up a majority of the discussion. TradeWind is behind the proposed Haystack Project that would have turbines in all three districts of the county. Casey told the commissioners he's frustrated with the process.

"They haven't even shared with us anything more than a 10 percent design plan so far," Casey said.

Casey and the commissioners have stated multiple times that they need to know where turbines are going and roads will be used, but TradeWind so far has been mum on the details. Casey told the commissioners he feels that any changes TradeWind makes to the roads really should be on the One and Six Year plan and there's no way to include that if the County isn't informed.

"Their opinion seems to be that all we need to do is sign this and then go forward from there and I'm really bothered by that. I really am frustrated in the process," he said.

Deputy County attorney Eric Knutson said he can speak with TradeWind and then meet with commissioners afterward.

A liquor license was granted to Logan Valley Golf Course after a public hearing in which no one spoke.

A County Burial Application from Hasemann Funeral Home was also approved.

The next Wayne County Commissioners meeting will be held at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 21. For more information about how to access the meeting, visit waynecountyne.org/251/Virtual-Meetings

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Wayne, NE 68787
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