Historical Society request on commissioner's agenda


A presentation from several members of the Wayne County Historical Society highlighted the meeting of the Wayne County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.

Kaki Ley and Elizabeth King, representing the Wayne County Historical Society, came to the commissioners requesting $25,000 part of the county's budget for the Wayne County Museum. The museum currently receives $5,000 per year for upkeep and related expenses. This amount has not been increased in many years and does not take into account inflation.

Ley said there are currently less than 10 members on the Historical Society's Board and those members "are unable to do what is needed for the upkeep of the museum."

She stressed the importance of keeping the museum available to visitors as it "is a piece of history we need to maintain to preserve the county's past."

The museum's main porch and upper level balcony are being repaired at a cost of approximately $27,000.

Ley also said the group would like to hire a part-time museum director for both the Wayne and Winside museums. This person would be able to offer programing and organize donations.

King, who is president of the Historical Society, shared information on what she called "a gem in Wayne's crown." 

She said the Historical Society would like to raise public awareness through "increased educational opportunities and programs and promote Wayne County's rich history through social media, as well as increased awareness through newspaper, radio and television."

The group asked the commissioners to increase support for the museum as they work to prepare the coming fiscal year's budget. 

An update from Congressman Adrian Smith's office was also on the agenda.

Heidi Borg told the commissioners that Smith's district encompasses 80 of the state's 93 counties.

She explained some of the services available to constituents through the congressman's office, including helping with questions involving federal agencies and providing educational opportunities through internships. 

Borg also talked about committees Smith serves on and that among his priorities is promoting agriculture through work on the Farm Bill.

Judd Allen with the Nebraska Association of County Officials (NACO) shared information with the commissioners on health insurance renewal rates.

He talked about insurance rate increases and noted that the companies providing insurance are "very competitive."

Wayne County Emergency Manager Nic Kemnitz updated the board on activities he is planning to be a part of in coming days.

A drone training will take place in West Point June 7-9 and Kemnitz outlined what it will entail. He also shared information on what the next steps in the process are to become licensed to operate a drone.

The Elkhorn Valley Local Emergency Committee, which includes Wayne County, will be offering a HAZMAT Night Out event at Central Valley Ag in Wisner on Monday, June 10. The free event runs from 6 to 8 p.m. and is open to the public. Registration is required at https://forms.office.com/r/hLbVRi5Zp1.

The Wayne County Board of Commissioners will next meet in regular session on Tuesday, June 18 at 9 a.m. at the Wayne County Courthouse.