LB840 funds, sewer systems debated by council

Debate on two Wayne City Council agenda items lasted more than an hour and resulted in both items being tabled.
Council members discussed what action should be taken on the LB840 Committee's recommendation in regard to allocating money to Wriedt Properties to relocate four trailer houses located on property that Chad Sebade plans to develop into townhouses.
Wes Blecke, representing the LB840 Committee, told the council that the project had been brought to the committee in 2013 but was not completed due to the death of Bob Wriedt. He said it was brought back to the committee last fall and the committee asked for more information before moving forward.
He said the committee recommended a $2,000 loan per trailer for three years at three percent interest. The trailers would need to be moved within four months.
City Administrator Lowell Johnson told the council "it is complicated to move a trailer. Originally, this was offered as a grant."
Council member Cale Giese questioned whether this was the best use of LB840 funds or if the money could come from some other source.
"I like the project, but would rather see if it is possible to use some of Chad's (Sebade) TIF money for the project," Giese said.
Jeannie Wriedt, owner and president of Wriedt Properties, told the council that her late husband, Bob's plan was to build apartments on the property and originally he had been granted $5,500 per trailer to have them moved. Since that time, a portion of the property has been sold to Chad Sebade and a purchase agreement is in place for the remainder of the area.
"Chad plans to build townhouses in the area, with garages. He hopes to attract young professionals to the homes," she said.
Her suggestion to the council was a compromise between the original $5,500 grant per trailer and the LB840 Committee's recommendation of a $2,000 loan per trailer to a $2,000 grant per trailer, based on actual expenses.
Following discussion, council members voted unanimously to tale the issue until more information is obtained.
A second lengthy discussion was held on the city's part in providing utilities to the Beaumont Event Center, located outside city limits north of the Wayne Country Club.
The city has been working for several months to determine how to provide sewer services to the area.
Because the area is outside the city limits and far enough way from a city well, a private septic system could be installed on the property. However, if in the future, the area were to be annexed by the city, the property would be required to hook into the city's system.
Josie Broders, owner of the property, told the council, "I need to know what the costs will be to have a sewer system installed. I need to be able to move forward with the project. If I am required to pay 50 percent of the cost that is a lot more than I expected."
City Administrator Johnson said the city has been working with Steve Rames of McLaury Engineering Inc. to find a "workable way to get water and sewer to the area, both east and west of Highway 15. The city owns almost half of the land in the area and I am looking for direction from the council on how to move forward."
Pat Melena, who told the council he was speaking only on his own behalf, said he felt the decision last year to grant the money to the project was made too quickly to an area that is outside city limits. "While we can't turn back the clock, the council needs to proceed in an orderly fashion and decide whether this project gets annexed."
Council member Giese said "I think it is in the best interest of both parties to annex this project. It is a good investment."
Considerable discussion revolved around the costs for the project and how the city would be able to recoup these costs in the future.
It was noted during the meeting that annexation could not be voted on until after an advertised public hearing. It will be discussed at a future meeting.
Council members then voted to direct city employees to present options for providing city sewer services to the area rather than a septic system.
In other action, the council held a public hearing to amend a budget request to the Department of Economic Development for a Community Development Block Grant for work in the southeast quadrant of the city.
The original grant included funds for the rehab of six single family, owner-occupied homes. However, the city was not able to locate six homeowners who qualified for the project. This resulted in the project being changed to allow $53,000 in CDBG funds for ADA curb and street repairs. Additional funds will be used to demolish and clear property in the area and the rehabilitation of one home.
The CDBG funds need to be used by May 1, 2018.
The council will next meet in regular session on Tuesday, April 18 at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers.

The Wayne Herald

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