Resolution 2020-06 was signed by the Box Butte County Commissioners during their regular meeting on Monday morning. The resolution shows the county's opposition for LB58, also known as the Red Flag Law.
LB58 is up for possible debate and would allow firearms to be removed temporarily with due process from people at extreme risk of harming themselves or others before warning signs escalate into violence.
The Commissioners moved to sign the resolution in support of Second Amendment Rights for Box Butte County residents.
Around 50 county residents were at the previous meeting to show their support for gun rights. That number of residents wasn't quite as high for Monday's meeting but it was standing room only in the Commissioner room of the Courthouse. Following the signing of the Resolution, BBC residents Guy Hielscher and Sheila Walker thanked the Board for working to protect their rights.
At 9:15 a.m. the Board of Equalization was opened. County Treasurer, Valery Bell, needed a signature on a vehicle tax exemption form for Holy Rosary Community for a 1998 Chevy.
Hemingford residents Jeff and Jennifer Chancellor came before the board asking for tax equalization on a manufactured home.
County Clerk Judy Messersmith noted that she put the Chancellor's on the agenda to try to help find a solution for them. They have been trying to get a title for the trailer that they have been living in and fixing up. A title would make it possible for them to purchase insurance for the property.
County Assessor Michelle Robinson noted that it was condemned in 2015 but the Chancellor's had started fixing it up and the condition was made livable in 2019.
It was mentioned that they pay lot rent to Dale Wood but the owner of the trailer is deceased. The trailer has been on the distress warrant list since 2009.
Back taxes are $2,758.09 as of Thursday according to Bell.
"At this point in order for them to get a title in their name they must show that they have paid taxes for three years. Then I can make a title in their name," said Bell.
A Sheriff's sale was brought up as one solution but that doesn't guarantee that the Chancellor's would be the winning bidders.
"Should I just keep paying lot rent and keep fixing it up?" asked Jeff.
"Personally I would not want to keep throwing money at something that is not mine," Commissioner Susan Lore added.
Things got a bit heated as the Board, County Attorney, Bell, and Robinson discussed possible solutions and State statutes.
After three consecutive years of taxes are paid then a title can be ordered on that property BUT that title cannot be transferred until all taxes are brought current.
"Our hands are tied," Bell said.
County Attorney Terry Curtiss will make some calls and look into the situation. The Chancellor's will be put back on the agenda for the April 20th meeting.
Insurance brokers Samantha Stoltenburg and Brian Hillier talked to the board about saving them money on their health coverage.
Hillier explained that there are four major insurance companies: BlueCross, United, Cigna and Aetna.
"Right now you are with Midlands Choice (on the medical side) and are limited to Nebraska doctors but if you go with a big four then you can go to almost any doctor," said Hillier.
Changing would cost the county $8,784 more but each member would get a better discount.
County claims through January have been $377,606 for four months; that makes claims on track to hit $1.1 million. Switching to Cigna would save $135,000 by spending $8,000 more; saving the employee roughly $20,000 a year.
"I like the idea of saving money," said Lore.
"We knew the savings would be big, that's why we hit the ground running and didn't wait until October," Hillier said.
Chairman Mike McGinnis was absent as he was ill so Lore and Commissioner Doug Hashman wanted to give McGinnis a chance to review the paperwork before they officially made a switch.
County Road Superintendent Barb Keegan gave her road and equipment report.
She asked for permission to go out for bids for the repair of Jefferson Road between the highways near Berea.
Repair of the seven sites is estimated to cost more than $60,000.
Sealed bids for the project are to be back to the Clerk's office on the 20th of April. They will be opened at 9 a.m. and award/rejected at 10:30 a.m.
Courthouse updates were discussed. It was noted that on April 3rd there would be no power at all at the Courthouse.
"It's a mandatory shutdown," Robinson said. "How are you guys going to handle your employees not being able to work?"
"Off the top of my head the policy doesn't discuss construction related shutdowns," Curtiss noted.
Willdan, the construction company, needs two days with no power and they have offered to have those days be a Friday and Saturday.
The Board voted for offices that will be closed due to having no power to be paid.
"To me, it's an additional expense of the renovation," Lore said.
"And I'm just going to bring up the coronavirus because we're all thinking about it," said Bell.
"This is a little premature..." Curtiss said. He also dismissed the topic as it was not on the agenda.
"I say as far as guidelines, we follow what our handbook says," Hashman said.
Lore noted, "The city has done non-essential offices are closed but we are all essential."
County Treasurer Valery Bell wanted to inform the public that the Box Butte County Treasurer's office is currently still open and conducting business, however; we are STRONGLY encouraging the use of our MAIL IN or ONLINE SERVICES (https://boxbuttecounty.us/webpages/treasurer/treasurer.html) for the safety of all residents and staff. If your business can wait, please consider not coming into the courthouse. If you want to use the mail, our address is:
Box Butte County Treasurer, PO Box 655 Alliance, NE 69301.
If you need phone assistance; please call 308-762-6975.
Our hours are 8:00 - 4:00 p.m. Monday thru Friday, but are subject to change.
Our goal is to continue to serve the people of Box Butte County efficiently & keep everyone safe.