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Village board discusses water plans, use of jake brakes PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Thursday, 24 July 2014 16:26

By Sheri Hink-Wagner

The Wauneta Breeze


Village board members continued discussion of how to bring Wauneta’s water into compliance for arsenic levels at last week’s board meeting, held Tuesday, July 15.

David Blau from Miller and Associates and Village Superintendent Bill Bischoff provided board members with an update on the situation.

As it stands, the village’s exemption from meeting Health and Human Services’ water standards are set to expire at the end of the year. At this point, the arsenic levels in Wauneta’s water are still too high.

In previous meetings board members, Blau and Bischoff have made plans to impement a couple different solutions to the issue.

The village has been accepted into an experimental project that will attempt to seal the village’s wells at certain levels–which, in theory, will greatly reduce the arsenic levels.

Bischoff said that project continues to be on the horizon, it just hasn’t been made “official” yet. He has been informed that Wauneta is one of the Nebraska communities selected to participate in the project. Bischoff was informed that two of Wauneta’s three wells were chosen and that all expenses for the project will be covered on those two wells. However, the village may have to pay for treatment of the third well.

Through the project, a test well will be drilled to determine the rock formation near the village’s wells, giving insight into where arsenic enters the village’s water supply. Then, researchers will rehabilitate the village’s existing wells by sealing off the levels containing arsenic.

In an effort to create a contengency plan to make Wauneta’s water compliant, board members also accepted a bid from Ecololonex Clean Water Systems of Broken Bow to purchase and install two point-of-use (POU) devices in Wauneta. The bid was for $1,164.

The two POUs will be used as a pilot study to see if they eliminate or reduce arsenic levels to levels within standards.

If the well rehab is unsuccessful, the village has to decide between installing and maintaining POU devices in every home and business in Wauneta or building a village-wide water treatment plant.

The board also approved a contract with Miller and Associates in the amount of $2,500 to oversee and evaluate the POU pilot study.


Jake brakes

The use of Jake brakes within city limits has become a topic of conversation in Wauneta during the wheat harvest. At least one resident has complained of excessive Jake brake usage on the hill on Arapahoe, stating it is waking her sleeping children. She said the problem is primarily during the day.

A representative of Frenchman Valley Coop also attended the meeting, stating the Jake brakes are necessary to stop the trucks hauling heavy loads of grain.

After discussion, the village board asked FVC representatives to ask truck drivers informally to make an effort not to use their Jake brakes excessively, if possible.


Nursing home

Page Johnston led board members through the financial statements provided by Sunrise Heights of Wauneta. Reports given at the meeting were through the end of May. June 30 marked the end of the nursing home’s fiscal year.

Johnston told board members the nursing home currently has 36 residents, its maximum number, and has one or two people on a waiting list to move into the facility.

Board members also reviewed propane contracts for the nursing home. At the end of the discussion they decided to contract with Wauneta Co-op Oil for 8,000 gallons of propane at $1.60/gallon. It was noted that the nursing home also purchases a large amount of diesel from Wauneta Crossroads throughout the year.

It was also reported the nursing home is currently researching health insurance plans for employees. The facility is required to be compliant with the Affordable Care Act by Dec. 1.

The board reviewed another employee benefit, retirement plan matching. The board approved a match of 3 percent for 2014 instead of the previously discussed 2 percent match.


Village website

Rod Keiser with Champa Group presented the board with a proposal to update the village website. The proposal includes updating the software platform used for the website to give it a more modern look, faster performance and enhanced security.

Plans also include adding more content about the community and updating information currently provided.

Plans also include adding a community calendar to the site and to update the business directory and include Facebook and/or email links to businesses.

Keiser estimated the project will take four months to comlete. Board members approved the $4,000 project. They hired Champa Group to provide ongoing updates to the site after the initial update is complete at the rate of $250/month for up to 10 hours per month.


Bike across Nebraska

James Roe asked the board to consider being a host town for Bike Ride Across Nebraska  (BRAN) in 2015. Roe explained the group is currently looking for a town to host the first night of the trip and that Wauneta is being  considered.

Roe explained acting as a host town involves providing a football field, or something similar for the bikers to set up tents, showers for them to use as well as bathroom facilities. Roe said he has spoken with Wauneta-Palisade Schools Superintendent Randy Geier who stated the school football field and showers could be used if Wauneta were chosen.

The community would also have to provide meals to be purchased by the participants, which are usually provided by community and church groups. Roe said there are usually 600 participants plus their families. He said previous host towns have reported between $10,000 and $16,000 in revenue while the riders are in town.

Through discussion, board members expressed interest in being a host town as well as concern that enough volunteers could be found to provide services for the bikers.

After discussion, board members asked Village Clerk Evelyn Skelton to contact other area towns who have been host towns in the past about their experiences. Trenton was a host town in 2008 and Imperial hosted in 2000.

Keno distributions

Skelton gave board members a comprehensive history of Keno distributions in Wauneta. The list boasts many projects for the park, swimming pool, library and streets. A full accounting of Keno distributions will be given in a future edition of the Breeze.

Sheriff’s report

At last week’s meeting Chase County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Dukes said the Sheriff’s department continues to investigate the break-in at the Wauneta Swimming Pool. He also said deputies are watching the area more closely.

Other business

The board received a request from Southwest Nebraska Solid Waste Agency to either appoint a representative for Wauneta to the board or approve a resolution to remove the Wauneta seat from the Agency’s board.

The board discussed options and decided to try to find a representative from Wauneta to fill the seat before approving the resolution to remove Wauneta’s seat. Those interested in serving on the Agency’s board should contact the village office.

The board also discussed possible propane contracts for the ambulance barn, fire hall and swimming pool. Last year they contracted with Wauneta Co-op Oil for the fire hall and with Wauneta Crossroads for the ambulance barn. The board tabled the discussion until the August meeting so they could do more research on the amounts used at each location.

The library board approached the village board for approval to purchase two computers and possibly a printer from Walmart with a total cost of approximately $900. Board members decided to request the library board price the items locally with BW Telcom or Champa Group before approving the purchase.

At the end of the meeting, Board Member Tony Cribelli asked board members if the village board should consider alternate meeting times occasionally. Through discussion, board members felt moving the meeting to during business hours may deter residents from attending meetings and plan to leave the meeting time the same.

The village board meets on the second Tuesday of the month. The next scheduled meeting is Tuesday, Aug. 12 at 7 p.m. MT at the village office. The public is welcome to attend village board meetings.