Board Of Commissioners Passes 2014/2015 Budget
The Dawson County Board of Equalization of Dawson County, Nebraska, met in regular session at 8 a.m. on Monday, September 15th, 2014.
The commissioners approved the request for tax correction: #3884; Trailblazer Pipeline – State Assessed property. The pipeline has been redone is now at a reduced value. Estimated loss to the county tax roll is $4,500.00.
A tax correction was also approved for #3885; K Farms – personal property #10129367 for the 2013 tax year. This involved a $250,000.00 sprayer being added to the K Farms inventory that wasn’t reported in 2013. The new sprayer was added to the tax rolls for the year 2014.
The regular meeting for the Dawson County Board of Commissioners convened immediately following the Board of Equalization meeting.
Minutes for the August 29th, 2014 regular meeting were approved, Official’s Receipts were filed as submitted, and Treasurer’s Receipts were approved as submitted.
All claims were approved with the exception of #68811 made out to Plum Creek Motors since the vehicles have not yet arrived.
Resolution #2014-25 was approved, which gave Pinnacle Bank permission to pledge an additional $5,321,936.32 of collateral.
Dawson County Sheriff Gary Reiber appeared with the monthly crime reports for August.
At 8:30 a.m. a public hearing was held for the purpose of hearing support, opposition, criticism or suggestions relating to the proposed 2014/2015 county budget.
The total property tax call for the upcoming year will be $10, 219,681.79. This compares to $9,304,363.11 for the 2013/2014 fiscal year. The total available resources before property taxes is $23,176,858.82.
The proposed budget for 2014/2015 is $31,865,318.61.
“The budget is never totally spent,” explained Chairman Bill Stewart. We have a sinking fund with 20% reserves for FEMA in case of any major disaster happening in the county.” continued Stewart, who has been a county commissioner for sixteen years.
Resolution #2014-26 adopting the 2014/2015 was passed unanimously.
Zoning Administrator Pam Holbrook appeared before the board, forwarding a recommendation from the Planning Commission for a Special Use Permit Application made by Horvath Communications to construct a 195’ communications tower in Sec. 36-9-23.
The proposed tower wil be located just west of Johnson Lake near the Dawson County/Gosper County line. Horvath Communications wants to schedule a hearing agreement for October 15th, 2014.
Commissioner PJ Jacobson asked if Dawson County could possibly be granted permission to use the tower for law enforcement communications if necessary. Holbrook agreed to check on this at the hearing.
Dawson County Sheriff Reiber addressed the board concerning negotiating a contract with Cons. Telecom, Inc. for inmate telephone/video visitations. “This will be in the best interests of Dawson County with our percentage of return being higher.” noted Reiber. “It also enhances our appeal for contracting prisoners from other parts of the state,” he continued.
The county attorney’s office will be involved in drawing up the new contract.
Charles McGraw, representing the Community Action Partnership of Mid-Nebraska appeared to present the RYDE Transit reallocation of 2013/2014 surplus funds proposal.
The commissioners approved reallocation the $11,000.00 surplus funds from operating funds to capital expenditures.
McGraw noted that the funds will be used for two items: radio communications off of the roads department so as not to interfere with theirs and starting a fund for bus purchases to replace old ones in their fleet.
Chuck Olson, Dwight Trautman and Allen McClure appeared on behalf of the Johnson Lake Trails proposal. They requested $37,500.00 county funding to continue working on the concrete walking trail around Johnson Lake.
The proposal will be taken under the advisement of the roads committee.
Resolution #2014-27, adding the road overlay project by the Cozad Country Club was tabled until the next meeting.
Resolution #2014-28 was adopted, relaxing the road classification standards for Project C-24(352). This project involves the installation of concrete overlay on a portion of Road 755 located in Dawson County from Road 420 to the Platte River Bridge located on Road 755.
Chairman Stewart appointed Commissioner Kugler, County Assessor John Moore and himself to the county human resource person committee. County Clerk Karla Zlatkovsky and Deputy County Attorney Kate Gatewood will also be involved with this committee.
Limeliters…50 years packed into 2 Hours of Music!
If you think a Limeliter is a drink at Big E’s…you’re mistaken. It’s the season opener of the Cozad Entertainment Series on Saturday, Sept. 20 at the Cozad high school auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Picture a swirl of Americana, nostalgia and patriotism of three harmonized singers who play bass, guitar and banjo. Toss in some jokes, rich voices and a tradition lasting over 50 years and you’ve got entertainment.
“It’s our kick off!” said Sandy Keiswetter. “This should be lots of fun. My husband Ralph is getting ready to tap his toes.” The 2014-15 season tickets went on sale in the spring, but anyone interested can purchase tickets by calling Sandy Keiswetter, Shirley Harkness or Bev Brownfield or just showing up at the concert. “We’d love to have new members,” said Keiswetter.
The price of tickets includes all four concerts during the year. A single adult, for example, pays only $40 so each show would only cost $10. To preview video of the guests coming to Cozad check out the Cozad Area Entertainment Facebook page. Cozad and Kearney members reciprocate so anyone holding season tickets in Kearney can come on in.
This group will travel through time…starting with the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. There’s a song for everyone to sing along with.
Homecoming This Week At Lexington High School
Lexington High School has been celebrating Homecoming 2014 all this week. The observance will be capped when the Minutemen host the Bulldogs of Alliance on Friday night on the gridiron and when students enjoy a dance following Friday night’s gridiron contest.
On Monday evening there was a dodgeball tournament at Lexington High School at 6:30 p.m. with students competing for class points.
Tuesday night the students returned to Plum Creek Park and competed in more activities to earn class points, with games such as the egg toss and tug of war.
Wednesday will be court volleyball showdowns, that will start at 2:15 p.m.
Thursday there will be a Jeopardy competition that will start at 2:15 in the afternoon.
Festivities Friday will begin with a 1 p.m. pep rally at the High School, that will be followed by a Homecoming parade through downtown Lexington starting at 2 p.m. At the halftime intermission of the football game, the focus will be upon the crowning of a traditional Homecoming Queen and King. Following the game, the dance will be held from the conclusion of the football game until 11:30 p.m.
The candidates for Queen include:
YVETTE JIMENEZ: daughter of Daniel and Jacqueline Jimenez.
ALYSSA LEGER: daughter of Travis and Jean Leger.
PAGE FITZGERALD: daughter of Becky Carson, Matt and Annette Fitzgerald.
CECILIA BETANCOURT: daughter of Lucia Betancourt and the late Jose Betancourt.
LEESA GIERHAN: daughter of Steve and Lori Gierhan.
ANA HERNANDEZ: daughter of Anna Cruz and Enrique Vasquez.
The candidates for King are:
TYSON BLOCK: son of Jeff Block and Steph Araujo-Block.
KEVIN ANDRADE: son of Guilberto Perez and Karla Andrade.
JONATHAN REGALADO: son of Jose Ruano and Maria Regalado.
DAKOTA HERNANDEZ: son of Ed and Dawn Hernandez.
JONATHAN GODINEZ: son of Carlos and Maria Godinez.
MAXIMINO AVALOS: son of Humberto and Norma Avalos.
Special dress-up days were observed throughout the week. Monday started off the week with Color Day (they wear the color of their lanyard); Tuesday, Dynamic Duo Day; Wednesday, Disney Throwback Day; Thursday, Superhero Day; Friday is Spirit Day, wear your orange and black.
Gothenburg Set To Celebrate 100th Annual Harvest Festival
Gothenburg will be hosting their 100th annual harvest festival Thursday, September 18th –Saturday, September 20th.
“Gotham City Celebration” festivities will commence with a Farmer’s Market at Ehmen Park from 4:30–6:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 18th. A Pooch Parade/Dog Show will take place at the park at 5:30 p.m.
Friday’s events include the annual Pedal Tractor Pull located at 16th Street between Lake Avenue and Avenue F. Registration is at 5 p.m. with the pull beginning at 5:30 p.m.
C-I-A Methodist Church Youth will host a hot dog feed in Ehmen Park from 5:30–7:30 p.m.
Saturday’s itinerary begins with the 12th annual Dog-n-Jog will start from the Lake Helen shelter at 7:30 a.m. Participants have the option of a 5K run or a 1-mile fun run/ walk. Dogs are optional.
The ever-popular festival parade begins at 10:30 a.m. Line-up is at 9 a.m.
A Collections Display will be open at the Gothenburg Historical Museum, at 15th and Avenue F from 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m.
Ehmen Park will have food booths, arts, crafts, jumping toys and face painting available for festival patrons.
All Points Cooperative will be sponsoring Pig Wrestling at the Gothenburg Rodeo Grounds at 2 p.m. Team registration will take place at 1 p.m. A gate fee will be charged for adults with children under 12 admitted free.
Rotary InterAct will provide food with a beer garden hosted by Rotary After Dark.
Saturday’s events will conclude with a dance at the tennis courts behind the pool for students in grades 7–12. Rotary After Dark will be sponsoring the dance featuring 3oh8.
Questions regarding the harvest festival may be directed to the Gothenburg Chamber of Commerce Office at 308-537-3505 or e-mail: chamber@ gothenburgdelivers.com.
Lexington Homecoming Candidates:
LEX HIGH SCHOOL unveiled the finalists for the 2014 Homecoming Royal Court at a ‘Tapping Ceremony’ on Thursday morning. Selected as candidates are (front, from left) Yvette Jimenez, Page Fitzgerald, Ana Hernandez, Cecilia Betancourt, Alyssa Leger and Leesa Gierhan. (Back row) Jonathan Godinez, Jonathan Regalado, Maximino Avalos, Kevin Andrade, Dakota Hernandez and Tyson Block.
Lexington Public Schools Discuss Openings On Board Member Ballot
Reconfiguring schools to make grade level campuses for elementary students is being reconsidered by Lexington Public Schools.
The district currently has neighborhood based elementary schools, with K-5 students in each building. It is considering having all students of the same grade attend the same school, meaning there would be a building for K-1 students, one for grade 2-3 students and one for grade 4-5 students.
Bryan Elementary, the site of the dual language program, would be unaffected.
The district explored the idea in 2013 but didn't pursue it due to public disfavor.
The matter was recently discussed by the school board's building and grounds committee with many school administrators favoring it.
At the committee's recommendation, it was presented during Monday night's board meeting. The next step is to disseminate information to school staff and parents before the board considers the matter for vote.
Superintendent John Hakonson said parents would learn about the plan through PTOs and that it was discussed at such a meeting earlier in the evening at Morton.
School administrators said it could improve teacher collaboration and consistency, as well as equalize student opportunities and facilitate students knowing more of their same age peers. It would also reset the adequate yearly progress tracking for No Child Left Behind.
Lexington High School, Lexington Middle School and Bryan Elementary all saw test score improvements of 10 percent to be granted a safe harbor waiver, said Hakonson of meeting adequate yearly progress benchmarks. “It's very hard to do that and it was unexpected,” he said.
However, Morton Elementary is on year four of being on the “needs improvement” list and Pershing Elementary is on year three and Sandoz Elementary is on year two.
He said the district needs to identify its intervention plan by January. “There's a parade of 960 schools heading to the same place,” said Hakonson, referring to the increasingly demanding proficiency standards. “At year four (Morton Elementary), we're in the front.”
When board members asked what other options the district could consider, Hakonson said, “To be honest, we've been waiting for a list of menu items of options and we haven't received it.”
“If that's the only reason to do it, that wouldn't be a reason to do it. It's not worth it to play games,” said Hakonson of relieving No Child Left Behind pressure by reconfiguring the elementary schools. Grade level attendance centers existed in Sidney, where Hakonson previously worked as superintendent.
“The one thing I have concern about is getting everybody on the same page, the buy in,” said school board member Mike Dowling, who asked several questions.
“I hope everyone in the public realizes we're not taking this lightly,” said board member Kent Gydesen.
Bob Ripp who oversees the district's Early Learning Academy preschool program, with all preschoolers at one site, said leadership is key to helping teachers, students and families transition and in creating a school climate of cooperation, collaboration and problem solving. “It doesn't happen automatically. Once you get it going you can build a true learning community,” he said, after describing the struggles his staff overcame.
Hakonson said it won't be easy to determine what the district should pursue. “Like all big decisions there is going to be a variety of opinions on it from 'absolutely not' to 'administrative support' and everything in between,” said Hakonson. “A lot of people see the potential good, but there are tradeoffs.”
Hakonson said administrators see the plus side of it and board members are encouraged to make a decision at next month's meeting.
In other business the board authorized the superintendent to accept bids for the demolition or removal of the “Albus house,” a district owned property north of Lexington Middle School on Washington Street, now serving as construction headquarters. Although no bids for removal were submitted by a previous deadline, board members were reluctant to authorize the demolition of the house so they worded the motion to include more options. Eventually the site will become a parking lot.
Board members voted not to sell old athletic uniforms and other attire citing fears of how they could be misused and instead passed a measure requiring that they be disposed of.
It was announced that Lexington Police Department officer Chad Reutlinger will be the new School Resource Officer, replacing Steve Molden, who has been promoted to sergeant.
Board member Ray Ehlers revealed that he had removed his name as a school board candidate because he couldn't guarantee a full four years of service. He said he loves Lexington schools and encouraged write-in candidates.
County Clerk Karla Zlatkovsky said Mike Dowling is the only name that will appear on the ballot with three positions to be filled. Al Copper and Travis Maloley have submitted write in affidavits. By state law, write-in candidates must file a notarized affidavit and filing fee by October 24th.