Electricity takes council's focus
Electricity for the city of Wayne was part of several agenda items when the Wayne City Council met in regular session on Tuesday.
Council members first listened to a short presentation from Phil Lorenzen, who told the council the city was in good financial shape. He offered suggestions on the financing of an upcoming $1.5 million electric distribution project.
The city will purchase bonds to pay for the project and Lorenzen said the bond market remains favorable for borrowers.
A presentation was given by Bernie Cervera with C.H. Guernsey & Company, a consulting company from Oklahoma. He explained the services provided by the company in regard to long-range replacement of some of the city's oldest electric generation engines.
The council is planning to purchase a portion of its electricity in the future from wind generation and may need to look at quick start generations to use when the wind energy is no available.
Cervera told the council that Nebraska is the best source for wind energy in the country and with the city's current contract with Big Rivers Energy, the city would be able to purchase a portion of its power from wind farms. He also spoke of a number of projects his firm has done in recent years and compared several with what the city of Wayne may need.
The council gave its approval to Resolution 2017-40, which accepts the proposal and scope of consulting services with the firm.
Also approved was the second reading of an ordinance that will establish a power purchase agreement from Cottonwood Wind Project LLC for the purchase of wind turbine power and the second reading to the Big Rivers' Contract for the purchase of electricity.
Council members also approved a resolution to provide information technology and industrial services between the city of Wayne and Wayne State College. The resolution will mean the city will pre-pay for 10 years of services to the city from WSC.
Council member Cale Giese questioned Wayne State College President Dr. Marysz Rames on the purposed Center for Applied Technology facility to be built on the WSC campus.
Giese asked for the time line for obtaining funding for the project and whether the city could delay making payments to the college for the project.
Dr. Rames told the council that she needed to have funding secured before the June meeting of the College Board of Trustees and the project would be paid for as it was built. She also offered to provide a list of those donors who have already pledged support for the project.
In other action, the council approved the annexation of an area of land north of Wayne that will become the Beaumont Event Center.
Following a public hearing, the council gave first reading approval for the annexation of the area. City Planner Joel Hansen told the council that the Planning Commission had earlier voiced its approval for the annexation.
Rob Woodling with Woodling Development, spoke to the council to determine if there was support for tax increment financing (TIF) to build 15 single-family homes in the area near Tomar Drive and Jaxon Street, near the rugby fields.
The homes would be built as rent-to-own homes as part of a Crown II project, similar to that of a number of homes built in Western Ridge.
Following Woodling's presentation, the council voted to approve a Street Improvement District in the area to design, finance and pave the sections of street necessary for the project.
Debate during the meeting was held on the purchase of a concrete breaker for use by the Public Works Department.
Council member Jon Haase questioned whether the mini-excavator on which the breaker would be placed, could handle the upcoming projects.
Following discussion, the council gave its approval for the purchase, stating the city departments would exercise their best judgement when using the equipment.
Approval was also given for the installation of a stop sign at the corner of Grainland Road and Pheasant Run and the implementing of a 25 mph speed limit in the area.
Several property owners with homes in the area were on hand to discuss the speed to traffic on the road and request a 25 mph speed limit on Grainland Road.
Council members gave approval for the street closings in downtown Wayne on Friday, July 7 and in the Bressler Park area on Friday, July 8 for Henoween and Chicken Show activities.
The council will next meet in regular session on Tuesday, may 16 at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers.