Gage County Board of Supervisors Special Meeting – 8/14/19

The Gage County Board of Supervisors met on August 14, 2019, at 7:00 p.m. with Terry Jurgens, John Hill, Erich Tiemann, Eddie Dorn and Dennis Byars present, Matt Bauman and Gary Lytle absent.

Notice of said meeting was posted at the County Clerk’s Office and published prior to the meeting in compliance with State Statutes.

Let the record show that all proceedings are electronically recorded.

Pledge of Allegiance recited.

Chairman Tiemann announced that a complete copy of the Open Meetings Act is posted at the back of the Board of Supervisors Room.

Lytle joined the meeting at 7:11 p.m.

Senator Myron Dorn was present to discuss LB472 on the Qualified Judgment Payment Act which goes into effect in September, 2019, how it came about, and the details of the Bill. Approximately 30 individuals and the media were also in attendance. Speaking during the meeting were Don Schuller, Lenhart Fritzen, Duane Parde, Bill Ambrose and Dianne Zimmerman. No one spoke in opposition to the proposed one-half cent sales tax which would be used to help pay the judgment against Gage County in the Beatrice Six case. The judgment, with legal fees and interest, totals over $30 million. Senator Dorn explained that the tax doesn’t continue indefinitely. The law sunsets January 1, 2027, or the tax goes away at the time the judgment is paid off if it is prior to the sunset date. It was brought out that five members of the seven-member board would need to vote in favor of the tax for it to go into effect, and that while the judgment is being paid, Gage County must be at it’s 50 cent property tax levy limit. Schuller thanked the board for holding an informational meeting for the purpose of answering questions, and he and others expressed appreciation for the effort taken to use sales tax instead of property taxes to pay the judgment. Zimmerman supports the use of the new law because Nebraska property taxes are the tenth highest in the nation, while Nebraska sales taxes are the ninth lowest. Ambrose suggested using a small part of the state’s rainy-day fund to help pay the judgment. Legislation to allow the state to pay some or all of a judgment out of cash reserves was stuck in legislative committees. It’s been estimated that if only property taxes were used for the payment of the judgment it would take approximately eight years to pay. By adding revenue from the half-cent local sales tax, the payoff period could be reduced by one to two years.

A Resolution regarding LB472 will be presented for approval or disapproval at a special board meeting on September 3, 2019, at 9:00 a.m.

Chairman declared Board of Supervisors meeting adjourned at 8:07 p.m.

Board minutes can also be viewed on the Gage County website at www.gagecountynebraska.us.