Council listens to update on electric department

Planning for the future of the city's electric department was among the topics discussed during Tuesday's meeting of the Wayne City Council.
Andrew Ross, Director of the Nebraska Municipal Power Pool, spoke to the council on the advantages of financial planning in regard to the city's electric department.
He told the council of the need to look both at the history of the department and toward the future.
"We want to present this information to the council and give them a heads up and then wait for direction (from the council) before moving forward," he said.
He shared information from a report he had compiled and gave recommendations on what he felt would be wise moves on the part of the city in regard to rate adjustments.
"The (financial) picture in Wayne is really good. However, to stay there, it may be a good idea to have smaller rate increases before the city needs a major increase," he said.
An update on LB 840 activity was presented to the council by Wayne Area Economic Director Luke Virgil. He told the council that the LB 840 fund  has been depleted (other than the funds necessary to repay the loans from the Electric Department) and the future will involve keeping tabs on how the money is being repaid.
He said that any new requests will involve revolving loan money from the fund.
Virgil also gave the council information on LB 518 and housing opportunities.
He told the council that in the last legislative session, $7 million was allocated from the Nebraska Affordable Housing Trust Fund for workforce housing in the state.
"This is a grant, and would not have to be repaid. It does, however, come with a dollar for dollar match by cities or businesses. I believe Wayne has an advantage because a housing study was just completed. There will be a lot of competition for the grant, because when the grant money is gone, it is gone," he said.
The deadline for submitting a grant application is March 31.
The council will discuss the grant and the city's options at the upcoming council retreat.

Council members approved the application of Grant Miller to the Wayne Volunteer Fire Department. He brings the number of members on the department to 37. There is also one cadet who is a part of the department.
Travis Meyer was appointed to the Airport Authority Board. He replaces Jerry Conradt and his term will run through December 2022. Meyer told the council "there is lots of flying in my family and I am excited to be a part of the airport's future."
The three readings of an ordinance were waived regarding the penalty section in the city's code regarding open burning ban violations.
Also approved was a resolution that allows for a green energy blocks purchase agreement and service schedule between the city of Wayne and Nebraska Public Power District.
The contract is for one year and will allow a Wayne business to purchase green energy blocks from the city, which would purchase these from the open market and pass on the costs to the customer.
The Wayne City Council will next meet in regular session on Tuesday, Feb. 6 at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers.

The Wayne Herald

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Wayne, NE 68787
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