Commissioners Hear Updates On Valuations Overview, Potential Of Wildfires

WAYNE – Homeowners and landowners will need to be on the look out for valuation notices in the coming months while emergency management officials continue to fight wildfires in dry conditions.

From the Wayne County Courthouse courtroom, a near 90-minute meeting focused on several topics during the Wayne County Board of Commissioners regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday.

Each Commissioner of Terry Sievers (District 1); Dean Burbach (District 2) and Jim Rabe (District 3) along with Doug Deck (Weed Superintendent); Mark Casey (Highway Superintendent) and Amy Miller (County Attorney) gave their county office updates and reports.

A total of $21,400 in Wayne County Convention & Visitors Bureau Committee Lodging Tax Grant Applications were then approved. Commissioners also approved a $500 grant for the Juneteenth Celebration/Freedom Run/Walk at Bressler Park on June 19. The funds would be used to purchase an $800 re-usable banner to promote the event across Main Street.

Lodging Tax Grant Applications

County Clerk, Deb Finn stated Wayne County has $45,000 currently in the bank for the lodging tax grants.

County Assessor, Dawn Duffy then reported on a valuations overview and those values will be increasing. Every parcel owner, if valuation goes up or down, will receive a valuation notice. Notices will be sent out by June 1.

Duffy stated valuations are 100% driven by market base as Ag, commercial and residential are determined by what people are paying for the land.

Prices paid for residential properties have increased dramatically over the last couple of years. Recent Ag sales are showing large increases to price paid per acre from a year ago.

All assessed values are determined based on market being 69 – 75% for Ag and 92 – 100% for residential/commercial. When prices being paid increase, assessed values must reflect that increase.

Valuations for commercial will see relatively small changes; no changes in irrigated Ag but increases in both Dryland Ag (first time since 2016) and Grassland Ag (first time since 2013) as well as all residential locations will most likely see an increase for 2022.

With the land valuation seeing a slight raise this year, Duffy is hoping this would off-set a large increase next year.

Other important dates Duffy noted were personal property by May 1 and homestead exemptions due by June 30.

Nic Kemnitz, Wayne County Emergency Manager also provided more information following a recent conference he attended focusing on the National Weather Service stating to be prepared for wildland fire conditions which will be present across the entire state. For the next several weeks, Nebraska is in a drought and the long-term weather models are not showing much in terms of measurable moisture.

Wayne County EM purchased a fire weather meter which will help with updates on current conditions when a fire occurs to be more prepared.

Kemnitz went onto update commissioners that wildfires can get expensive in a hurry. If there is a large wildfire, Wayne County would need to file a local disaster declaration with NEMA to utilize resources beyond the local level. National Guard helicopters with Bambi buckets have commonly been used on fires in Nebraska.

Sandra Hansen reported an update on Wayne County ARPA Funds as a committee has been put together and will meet in June. The goal is to have information available for the public by mid-June for applications and would meet quarterly or as needed.

Following the May 17 regularly scheduled Wayne County Board of Commissioners meeting, county officials will meet and see what ideas come about within Wayne County.

Th second half of the total $1.8 million in ARPA Funds should be received this June. Deadlines include by 2024 to be allocated and 2028 to be spent.

Commissioners Sievers and Rabe will be utilizing the Cornhusker International truck bids for $169,558.50 each. The two trucks will be delivered by this November.

The next regularly scheduled Wayne County Board of Commissioners meeting will be on Tuesday, May 3.