Weather Forecast

Click for Wauneta, Nebraska Forecast

Electric rates to increase; Village board discusses one and six year road plan, nursing home purchase PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Thursday, 22 March 2012 19:06

By Sheri Hink

The Wauneta Breeze


The agenda of last Tuesday’s Wauneta Village Board meeting was full of various items impacting the citizens of Wauneta. Agenda items included discussion and approval of an increase to the electric rate, a public hearing on the one and six year road plan, National Incident Management System (NIMS) training needed and purchase of the Wauneta nursing home.


Electric rate increase

At the February meeting of the Village board it was brought to the board’s attention that the electric rates paid by the Village had gone up and that the amount charged to consumers was not enough to cover the increase. During Tuesday’s meeting the Village board reviewed three scenarios of possible rate increases to help the Village plan for contingencies such as storms and cover the electric costs it pays to the electric suppliers, NPPD and WAPA.

After a detailed discussion, Village board members voted to increase electric rates by an average of six percent. The rise in electric rates were needed in order to cover the projected $256,950 shortfall in the annual budget. Raising the electric rates by six percent lowers the projected shortfall to $31,850.

A comparison of current electric rates and new electric rates can be seen in the table on page 2. Rates will go into effect on the April billing which includes electric usage between Feb. 20 and March 20.


One and six year road plan

The board had a public hearing on the one and six year road plan last Tuesday. Greg Wolford with W Design Associates out of McCook, who is also appointed as the Wauneta Street Superintendent, was present to explain the one and six plan. Three Wauneta streets are planned to be improved during the first year plan - Legion Street, Falls Drive and the west part of Cheyenne Street.

During the meeting it was discussed that the plan to work on Legion Street was moved up due to the planned work at the nursing home. It is estimated that the repairs, curb and gutter work to Legion Street will cost $131,000.

Village Superintendant Bill Bischoff explained that if the street budget does not allow for completion of all of the planned work to Legion Street they will consider lessor repairs for right now until the budget allows for the complete plans in the one and six plan.

The board also voted to plot Falls Drive and the west part of Cheyenne Street. Plotting the two roads registers them as official roads of the Village of Wauneta. The immediate plans for these two streets is to complete some grade work to help control water issues on the streets.

If the street budget allows in future years the Village may consider upgrading the current hard packed gravel surface of these roads to a milled surface and add curb and gutters. The estimate to add a milled surface and add curbs and gutters to Falls Drive and west Cheyenne Street is $41,000.

The six year plan includes work to Sioux Street, Shawnee Street, North Railway Street, Arikaree Street, Pointiac Street, east Wichita Street, and Valley Street. The public can view a map depicting the streets effected by the plan at the Village office.

Bischoff went on to say that if the budget allows and the Village can get some street millings from the County at the right price this summer they may add millings to the road by the park.

The one and six year road plan was approved by the board. Board member Page Johnston abstained from the vote on the one and six year road plan as his property would be directly effected by the plotting and possible curb and gutter work on Falls Drive and Cheyenne Street.


National Incident Management System

Paul Kunnemann, Chase County Emergency Manager, attended the Village board meeting to explain the National Incident Management System (NIMS) requirements of all counties.

He explained that State and Federal hazardous mitigation dollars may not be available to help in the case of emergency if certain individuals within the Village and County have not taken appropriate levels of emergency management training. A lack of trained personnel at the Village or County Level has the potential of harming the Village and/or County’s chance of receiving state and federal grant dollars.

Kunnemann went on to explain that approximately 130 individuals in Chase County have at least part of the training requirements met and that many of the courses can be taken online. However, there are two courses which must be taken at an in-person week-long training.

After discussing the issue, the Village board determined that Bischoff and someone from the fire department need to compete the week-long training course in order to assure that Wauneta is in compliance with the NIMS requirements.


Nursing home purchase

Plans to purchase the Wauneta nursing home from Vetters Health Services are moving forward. The Village board approved a contract for the option to purchase bed licenses.

The contract states that the Village of Wauneta will put $5,000 down on an option to purchase 33 bed licenses for the total of $300,000. The Village has until June 29, 2012, to exercise their option to buy the licences.

If the licenses are purchased the $5,000 put down will be subtracted from the purchase price. If the Village does not exercise its right to purchase the bed licenses, the $5,000 will not be returned.

The Village board also approved a contract with Rural Health Development (RHD) for management of the nursing home after its purchase by the Village of Wauneta. The village will pay RHD $8,500 per month for management of the facility.

The administrator of the home will be employed by RHD directly and his/her salary and benefits will be included in this $8,500 fee. Under the contract, all employees of the nursing home, except for the administrator, will be Village employees. Within the contract, it is stated that the nursing home may not employ a former RHD employee for 11 months after they sever employment with RHD.

Although RHD will take care of the day-to-day management of the facility, the Village board will approve bills monthly.

The board also approved a payment of $8,500, equal to one month’s management fees, to be paid to RHD for their work prior to the purchase of the nursing home.

There is not yet a final contract with VHS to purchase the home. The board went into executive session to discuss the particulars of the contract with VHS.


Other business

Sheriff deputy Mike Dukes gave a report of activity to the Village board. Through his report he shared that the Sheriff’s office had put in 141 patrol hours and 10 administrative hours in Wauneta during February.

The board had not yet received any bids for the lease of the pasture on the edge of town. They plan to review and accept bids for the lease of the pasture during April’s meeting.

The Village board approved a motion to direct the treasurer to study invoices from Miller and Associates to ensure that no part of the charges have been paid previously and to pay the amount owed by the village. The total of the two invoices is $30,259.

Village superintendent Bill Bischoff provided the board an update on the water project. Phase II of the project began last week. The Village is working with Miller and Associates to install a variable drive on the city wells.

The variable drive will control the speed that water is pumped out of the village wells which will hopefully lesson the arsenic levels in the water. The arsenic levels are currently just above the allowable range.

The board will likely see bids for the work to be completed in Phase II of the water project at the April meeting.

In the village superintendent’s report Bill Bischoff informed the board that a company would be in town on Wednesday, March 14 to complete crack repair on 10 blocks of village roads.

Village workers cleaned out culverts under Tecumseh and Arapahoe using a machine rented for $525. Bischoff reported that the culverts had filled to the half mark with sediment and that the clean out will allow for better water control.

Bischoff has also scheduled three days for people from the Work Camp to come out and help clean up pine needles at the cemetery. He expained that this spring clean up will allow for the buffalo grass to come up more evenly.

Later this spring Bischoff said the Village may need to schedule a power outage to allow Village workers to replace a transformer.

The Village board approved a request from the Wauneta Chamber of Commerce to disburse $1,500 for repairs to the heater and air conditioner at the Chateau Theatre.

Evelyn Skelton reported that the nursing home fundraising effort is now at $231,900. In her report she also discussed scheduling a time for the auditors to come share their report with the Board. The audit report will be given at a regular meeting of the board in the future.

The Wauneta Village board’s regular meeting time is the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. MT. The public is welcome to attend Village board meetings.

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 March 2012 19:09