Public transportation and leadership courses discussed

Kayla Mathewson, Staff Writer

Public transportation and a power drive rally were discussed at Feb. 16 City Council meeting.

One of the first orders of business was the report from the Business and Industries’ Retreat, given by Wes Blecke, the executive director of WAED (Wayne Area Economic Development). Family focused housing was the first thing Blecke talked about and the need for housing in Wayne to cost $120,000 or less, to help those struggling to make ends meet.

Internet reliability was also brought up, with the Business and Industries group (B&I group) surveying the local businesses every two or three years. They survey the speed, performance and reliability of the internet. The team is currently working through any troubles that businesses may come across.

The building that the Williams Form Engineering Corp. is occupying is also known as a spec building or a warehouse. They can be expensive to build, but it pays off when a business buys the building, even after waiting a few years to do so. Blecke suggested that Wayne should consider building another spec building, because there seems to be a trend with companies needing warehouse space, and it would be good for the community if another spec building paid off.

The B&I group is also working on an initiative to provide high school students, whether college is in the future or not, with an opportunity to work with the local businesses. These opportunities would help the students learn various habits and skills that employers keep an eye out for.

There is a leadership course in Wayne that has been very successful, and so the group is looking into offering an advanced leadership course.

To receive state funding, the council is required do the One and Six Year Improvement Program. Each February the council must submit a plan to be eligible to receive $460,000 for the Highway Allocation Funds for Wayne. There was a plan presented at the meeting that was based on the retreat, and input from the Public Works Department regarding anything that needed to be done for the city.

The city administrator was authorized to apply for the funds of the Wayne Public Transportation system. The transportation program is operated out of the Senior Center and charges $1.50 per ride. The funds come from NDOR (Nebraska Department of Roads), which will yield about $67,000 cost-share to subsidize the costs of the handi-van services. Any shortfall of the budget is covered by city taxes.

There was also a budget discussion for the Northeast Nebraska Area Agency on Aging. The budget included building a kitchen for the meals that are delivered to the elderly, which is heavily relied on by many townsfolk.

A request was made to close off part of East 10th street from Angel Avenue to Hillside Drive by EVERON (Electric Vehicle Energy Research of Nebraska) on April 2 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the Electric Vehicle Power Drive Rally.

Mayor Ken Chamberlain officially proclaimed March as “Problem Gambling Awareness Month.”