Creighton News is official county newspaper for 2019

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Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2018 6:17 am

The Knox County Supervisors approved legal newspapers for 2019 when they met at the courthouse in Center on Dec. 11.

The Creighton News and the Crofton Journal were named official legal papers for board proceedings and legal notices.

Notices for road and bridge work and improvements will be published in the newspaper nearest to the project or improvement. There are six newspapers published in the county.  

Robert Larsen of Verdigre was appointed to a three-year term on the Knox County Planning Commission, on a motion by Supervisor  Patrick Liska, with the second coming from Supervisor Virgil Miller.

Kevin Barta, highway superintendent, brought several matters to the supervisors’ table.

The county leaders approved the continued lease of a Bobcat skid loader for snow removal at the courthouse. The lease agreement includes use of a new loader each year, at a cost of $1,500 for 2019. Barta said a 2019 Bobcat S70 could be purchased for about $17,000.

Two bids for steel products were accepted from Husker Steel of Columbus, $52,522 for a 28 ft. steel-beam bridge in Herrick Township; and $52,251 for a 35 ft. steel-beam bridge in Harrison Township.

Barta updated the supervisors on the “Walton” bridge project. He said engineer, Mark Mainelli, continues to work on engineering standards, regarding speed of traffic. Straightening an ox bow in the creek was also discussed.

The highway superintendent also told the supervisors about recent snow-removal safety training that was conducted by the Nebraska Intergovernmental Risk Management Agency. NIRMA recommends that a vehicle owner/operator be required to sign a waiver, before county employees pull out a stuck vehicle. The waiver would release the county and its employees from claims which could incur as a result of the removal of a vehicle, gross negligence excepted.

Barta also said he received a suggestion to use salt brine on oiled roads, similar to what state road departments in Nebraska and South Dakota use. The supervisors decided the practice would not be cost effective.

Sara Twibell, from North Central District Health Department in O’Neill, presented information on a school-based dental care program, Miles of Smiles.

She said all schools in the county have contracted for the program for the past six years, with an average of 1,100 children, ages five to 12, served annually. Average student participation is 46 percent, with children receiving fluoride varnish application and referrals for additional dental work.

Twibell asked the county to contribute to the program, with a five-year commitment. Supervisor Kevin Mackeprang moved to commit to a $2,500 service fee, annually for five years, seconded by Supervisor Marty O’Connor. The commitment was approved unanimously.

Megan Hanefeldt, county economic development director and Jeff Christensen, with Northeast Nebraska Economic Development District, met with the supervisors regarding a reuse loan. The borrowers had filed for bankruptcy and proceeds from the sale of secured property, $6,362.47, applied to the loan, leaving a balance of $31,877.31. Knox County Attorney John Thomas advised bankruptcy proceedings dismissed the debt. The supervisors unanimously approved writing off the balance.

Christensen also informed the  leaders of proposed changes to Community Development Block Grant guidelines. He said federal Housing and Urban Development officials continue to insist the state take the loan proceeds out of the local communities, moving them to Northeast Economic Development, Inc., a non-profit development organization. The practice would make NED a sub-recipient of funds from local economic development revolving-loan funds and utilize these funds. The end result would be that funds would be de-federalized. Currently, Knox County and Schuyler are the only Northeast Nebraska communities that do not participate, while 24 communities and counties do.

Christensen said the proposed change would result in Knox County reuse loans being deducted from the county’s balance and repayment  going to NED to be used in projects across 26 counties in its service area. County level funds would eventually be depleted. The matter was to be placed on the agenda for consideration at the Dec. 27 meeting.

Discussion was undertaken regarding a letter received from Neligh attorney, James McNally. The letter addressed appointment of David Domina as a special attorney to research and provide legal opinion on distribution of school-lease funds to various school districts within Nebraska by the Department of Educational Lands and Funds.  

County income from school-land leases amounted to $635,807 in 2017, of which $211,423 was returned to the county for support of schools. Discussion ensued on the large amount going to Douglas and Lancaster counties and counties with no school land receiving funds, along with opinions that schools should be looking into the matter and that the cost for the county’s participation would be large.

A resolution was adopted on a Mackeprang motion, seconded by Miller, to participate, with a maximum of $800 cost to Knox County.

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