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Commissioners resolve to elect OC surveyor

Julie Rach

Otoe County will continue to elect its county surveyor.

The Otoe County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution during the board’s Jan. 14 meeting to that effect following a public hearingwith members of the Otoe County Planning Commission in attendance and several public letters of support.

A state law passed in 2014 required that the county board hold a public hearing on the matter in 2020.

The board could choose to pass a resolution supporting an elected county surveyor, or it could elect to put the question to a public vote.

Gene Thomsen, a surveyor with the Nebraska Department of Transportation, said he has worked in every county in the state in his 46-year career, and he has found that elected county surveyors have better, more-accessible records than those who are appointed.

Thomsen noted that in counties with appointed surveyors, some irreplaceable records have been misplaced or disposed of.

“Elected county surveyors are doing it for the love of the work,” he said, adding that, in his experience, the elected surveyors seem to have a sense of the history behind the records.

County Commissioner Jim Thurman said that the letters the board received indicated support for both current County Surveyor Dave Schmitz , as well as having the position remain an elected one.

“Dave is doing a great job for us,” he said.

During the meeting, the board approved declaring a 1979 Winnebago motor home last used by Otoe County Emergency Management as surplus.

County board chair Jerad Sornson is now authorized to sell the vehicle.

Board members agreed to enter into an NRD Hazard Mitigation interlocal agreement with Johnson, Nemaha, Pawnee, and Richardson counties.

The current hazard mitigation plan is undergoing a review and an update, said Otoe County Emergency Management Director Gregg Goebel, which is required so that the counties can qualify for federal funds in the event of a disaster.

Goebel also presented a quarterly emergency management update to the board, noting that the Cooper nuclear power plant south of Otoe County will conduct a disaster exercise in May.

The board re-elected Jerad Sornson as board chair, and elected Rick Freshman as board vice-chair for the coming year.

The next regular Otoe County Board of Commissioners meeting is set for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28.