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Nebraska City News-Press - Nebraska City, NE
  • County residents might see a two-cent decrease in property, real estate taxes

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  • There could be a 2-cent decrease in property and real estate taxes for Otoe County's residents.
    County Clerk Janene Bennett announced during the Otoe County Commissioners' meeting Tuesday morning that the 2014 mill levy is projected to drop from 32 cents to 30 cents due to an increase in valuations of properties.
    "It could mean that your taxes are going to go down. There's some farm ground that's increased in valuation a lot," Bennett said after the meeting. "More than likely it should be less."
    However, Bennett warned that doesn't mean that everyone's taxes will go down. She said every person's property is looked at individually.
    She stressed that just because property valuations increase doesn't necessarily mean the mill levy will decrease.  
    "That doesn't always happen," Bennett said.
    Bennett made her announcement while commissioners reviewed the proposed budget for the fiscal year 2015. The commissioners will discuss the budget further at the next public hearing at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 9.
    Commissioners discovered at the meeting that as of July 1, the rate to house a juvenile in the Sarpy County Holdover Facility has jumped up from $170 per day to $210.56 per day. Commissioners were shocked by the $40.56 increase.
    The commission decided to keep the interlocal agreement with Sarpy County to have a plan in place for now and seek out bids from other facilities.
    "At the next meeting we're going to discuss with the county attorney about doing an RFP (Request for Proposal) to other entities that we may be able to utilize," Crook said.
    The commission listened to Director of the Regional Prevention Coalition - Region V Sandy Morrissey give an annual report.
    Morrissey works closely with Partners for Otoe County, a nonprofit organization. Otoe County has been allocated $14,789 from the 2014-2015 Substance Abuse Prevention Block Grant.  
    "Partners for Otoe County is progressing. They were having to rebuild under new leadership, and we've just met with school officials (Aug. 22) and we're really going to direct those prevention dollars to meet the strategic plan that we'll develop with the schools," she said.
    Morrissey writes grants and coordinates with different entities to teach about alcohol, tobacco and drugs prevention.  
    She said eighth-graders, sophomores and seniors will take a survey to collect more data about students' knowledge of alcohol, tobacco and drugs.
    The results from that survey will be done by spring or early-summer.
    "The survey is to see what the general trend of thinking is, and that way we can direct the program into those areas, which is extremely beneficial and it's fiscally responsible and it's effective for our youth in Otoe County," Crook said.
    Commissioners listened to a request from Tyler Forke, whom lives at 1138 E Rd., northeast of Palmyra, for a conditional use permit to erect a dog kennel.
    Page 2 of 2 - "I would just like the ability to have a small training kennel," Forke said.
    Forke, who works full-time for a marketing agency in Omaha, trains dogs as a hobby. He said the kennel would house 20 dogs, including his two dogs when he's not home. The dogs would remain inside of the kennel from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. The kennel would have heating and air conditioning.
    Forke submitted a letter signed by his neighbors stating their approval of the kennel being built.
    After hearing from Forke, the commission approved his request for the permit.
    Commissioner Steven Lade discussed Omaha Public Power District's request to host a safety program session with County Roads employees. He warned that the session could last from two to three hours.
    Crook suggested that the session be held during the winter months when the roads crew won't be as busy.
    Other agenda items were:
    - County Roads Lead Supervisor Jonathan Brinkman updated the commission on road projects being worked on currently,  
    - Commissioners proclaimed September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month,
    - Commissioners approved Veterans Service officer Bill Hessler's transportation request form for veterans' mileage reimbursement,
    -  David Sleep of Big Red Drainage Pipe Supply in Palmyra made a presentation to commissioners about HDPE culvert pipe,
    - Resolution 8-26-14-28 was adopted approving levy allocation requests from rural fire and hospital districts and agricultural societies under the authority of the county board,
    - And inventory statements from elected officials and department heads were approved. 

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