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State reps attempt to clear up murky water, land issues PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Friday, 05 February 2016 17:48

By Diane Stamm

The Wauneta Breeze

Visitors from the Nebraska Department of Revenue were at the Chase County Courthouse Jan. 26 to meet with Chase County Assessor Dottie Bartels and Commissioners Dave Hogsett, Chuck Vette and Don Weiss, Jr.

The commissioners said as the Upper Republican Natural Resource Districts changes it’s policies and plans, it can be tough for the assessor’s office to keep up.

Ruth Sorensen, Property Tax Administrator for the State of Nebraska, answered questions the commissioners had for their double-duty as Board of Equalization (BOE) members.

Sorensen’s main points from the 50-minute meeting included:

-—Whether a satellite or not, irrigated land is irrigated land. Sorensen recommended the county no longer make satellite and spot adjustments. —If water is sold off a piece of land, the well on that land should be decommissioned.

—As long as there is a well on the land, it should be considered irrigated.

Duane Dinnel was also present at the meeting, but Sorensen was unable to answer all his questions due to Dinnel and the county’s Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC) case.

In non-BOE business, county weed superintendent Randy Bartlett recommended adjusting how much he charges to spray for land-owners. Over the last nine years the county has charged $30 per hour, but after conversations with other weed superintendents, Bartlett said most counties charge at least $50 per hour and many of them only spray county-owned property. Bartlett and the commissioners agreed on raising the price to $40 per hour.

After establishing the county employee holiday schedule at the first meeting of the year, commissioners tackled vacation days at the Jan. 26 meeting.

County employees now fall into one or two categories: level one, employed less than 10 years, accrue one day of vacation per month. Level two employees, employed more than 10 years, accrue one and a half days of vacation per month. Employees were previously divided into three levels. Terminology was also changed from hours to days.

Commissioners also voted to change the definition of regular part-time employment from 17.5 hours to “regularly scheduled to work 3 days a week” for purpose of determining eligibility for vacation and sick leave benefits.

Several items were tabled until the Feb. 9 meeting, including meeting with Jeff Tidyman to prepare for sending out bids to redo the courthouse parking lot, leasing a tractor for Vette’s district and writing off ambulance unpaid accounts.