Council denies change in financing for Event Center

After considerable discussion and input from several council members, the Wayne City Council voted to deny a request for a change from a loan to a grant for the Wayne Area Event Center.
Josie Broders spoke to the council on the changes that have taken place  with the project since it started 13 months ago. She asked the council to consider changing the $350,000 LB840 loan given to the project to a grant to allow for more flexibility in getting bank financing for the remainder of the money needed to complete the project.
She said the request was similar to that given to the group that built the Cobblestone Hotel.
City Finance Director Nancy Braden said that the hotel was originally given a loan, which was later changed to a grant that is now being repaid.
Broders said she feels the project, which has now been expanded to include a restaurant, will bring "a lot to the community."
She also said she would be willing to repay the money as the original loan indicated and willing to have that in writing.
Mayor Ken Chamberlain said that while he has heard many positive comments on the project, there may be other alternatives available, including the deferment of payments on the loan for five years.
After weighing options, council members voted 5-3 to act on the LB840 Committee's recommendation to deny the request. Council members Jon Haase, Terri Buck and Jason Karsky voted against the recommendation.
The evening's meeting began with the appointment of Mary Beth Porter to the position of City Treasurer-Finance Director. Porter will begin her duties with the city on Dec. 4.
Council members also took action to terminate the city of Wayne's group health care insurance with Blue Cross Blue Shield and enroll with United Health Care.
Gary Boehle with the Elkhorn Agency spoke to the council on the proposed 40 percent increase in premiums from Blue Cross Blue Shield. He cited a number of reasons for the increase, including a large number of claims from city employees for over $50,000.
The premium quote from United Healthcare will include a four percent increase in premium to the city with coverage very similar to that of Blue Cross Blue Shield.
In other action, the council approved a resolution for the purchase of a Bobcat 5600 for use by the city's street department.
Lowell Heggemeyer explained to the council that the Bobcat would allow for use of equipment that the city currently owns.
Council members gave second reading to two ordinances that will change parking regulations in the southeast quadrant section of the city.
Approval was also given to payment for the Beaumont First Addition Water & Sewer Extension Project in the amount of $130,807.41 to Penro Construction, Inc. and $185,548.48 to A&R Construction for the Fourth Street Paving Project.
A change order decreasing the cost of the Wayne Country Club Clubhouse Addition and Remodel Project was approved. It will amount to a $50,785 change on the total cost of the project.
The council will next meet in regular session on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers.

The Wayne Herald

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