Local News

The Lincoln County Board has forwarded a tort claim filed by North Platte Public Schools to the county’s insurance provider.

The $70,260 claim was filed as a result of late tax payments that forced the district to seek a $3.645 million tax anticipation note to cover its financial obligations in May. The school district was among several entities that received payments late from the county. Then-County Treasurer Lorie Koertner was removed from office as a result.

NPPS Executive Director of Finance Stuart Simpson and the district’s attorney, Larry Baumann, addressed the commissioners at Monday’s meeting.

Simpson said the school district’s expenses included fiscal agent and attorney fees, and interest on the tax anticipation note.

Commissioner Bill Henry said the costs were not what he expected.

“I guess I understand your figures exactly, although I guess I was a bit shell-shocked by the bottom line,” Henry said.

Simpson said there were a lot of hoops to go through due to requirements by state statute.

Bauman said it cost “just for the placement agent to get the tax anticipation note.” The district “also had to pay $7,200 for the attorney that was helping them do that.”

On top of that, the district paid $16,281 in interest, Bauman said, “which is actually a little less than they would have had to pay because they were able to pay this back early when the money started to flow again.”

Also included in the tort claim were $10,329 in local attorney fees, bringing the total expenses to $70,260.

The board voted 4-0 to send the claim on for further investigation. Board member Walt Johnson was absent Monday.

The commissioners also approved several Improvement Fund awards recommended by the North Platte/Lincoln County Visitors Bureau Advisory Committee.

Lisa Burke, executive director of the Visitors Bureau, gave the presentation to the board.

“Throughout the 14-year history of awarding Improvement Fund grants, the Advisory Committee of the North Platte and Lincoln County Visitors Bureau has committed funding of $1,865,686.73 for improving facilities and services in North Platte,” Burke said. “The money that flows into the Improvement Fund is generated entirely by a 2% lodging tax on overnight lodging purchased in Lincoln County.”

Burke emphasized to the commissioners that no other public funds, including property taxes or sales taxes, are administered by the Visitors Bureau.

The grants approved by the commissioners were:

» $10,000 for a new backstop and extended netting project for Bill Wood Field, the American Legion baseball field in North Platte. The original application was for $85,500.

» $2,500 for the second phase of improvements, specifically for additional playground equipment, to the recently constructed playground at Iron Horse Park. The Buffalo Bill Kiwanis application was for $16,465.50 for phase two of the project.

» $6,550 was granted to the North Platte Community Playhouse to cover costs to replace the aisle lighting, and repair and repaint the stage floor. The Playhouse had applied for $41,050 for exterior repairs and improvements to the historic Fox Theater.

» $1,000 to the Sutherland Anchor Memorial Park to buy an active playset for older children. The application request was for $12,750.

» $14,863 for the Archives Project at the Lincoln County Historical Museum. The purpose is to renovate the museum’s old shop building into a space for modern archives. The application was for the $14,863 needed for the project.

In other action:

» The board approved reappointments to the Security Committee for three-year terms starting Nov. 1: Jerome Kramer, Sheriff’s Office; Booker Boyer, Building and Grounds; Brandon Myers, Emergency Management; Darla Morris, county employee; and Les Green, at large member.

» Chairman Joe Hewgley was authorized to sign the amendment to contract with Western Engineering for the 2019 overlay projects.

» Acceptance of bids for a bulldozer for the Department of Roads was tabled to next Monday to give Highway Superintendent Carla O’Dell and her staff time to evaluate the bids.

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