The Scotts Bluff County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing next month to hear from parties interested in the future of the former Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) building at 1600 10th St. in Gering.
The DHHS lease ends September 30. The State Department had previously announced that it would move to a new location in Scottsbluff.
For the car bank property next to the building, the council has issued a tender document with terms and conditions and a contract. They received a bid, and attorney Phil Kelly said more groups could bid for DHHS’s largest building.
“The process will be the same as last time,” he told the commissioners. “If you choose, we would have a public hearing on September 6, at which time there would be a discussion of how to sell it, what to sell it for.”
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The final sale date is expected to be within 60 days of September 6 due to laws requiring a remonstrance period – a time set aside to allow public comment regarding the sale – and should be announced at least once 10 days before that. date.
Kelly told the board he could call a special meeting if needed because his regular November meetings fall outside of that 60-day window.
Commissioners discussed setting a minimum bid amount, as people who can reach the amount would be more likely to have concrete plans for the property and would be more likely to follow through with its purchase.
“My point is to make this as simple as possible, and I think the easiest way is to set a minimum bid,” said board chairman Ken Meyer.
Commissioner Mark Reichert said the council could limit the number of potential buyers if they do not list the site through an estate agent. Kelly said they must accept offers and sell to the highest bidder, according to state law.
The law also stipulates that a notice of public hearing must be published at least twice. Kelly had already prepared a notice for the stewards to use.
From there, they could decide to set a minimum bid, to sell the property as a whole or in lots, or other specificities not necessarily imposed by law.
In the end, the council voted unanimously to approve the holding of the public hearing and the continuation of the necessary publicity.
Tyler Rexus, the county’s 911 communications manager, also provided the council with an update on the handling of his Box Butte County call dispatch center.
Box Butte County officials had approached its advisory board several months ago to resume services. Rexus said a technical feasibility study showed it could be done.
Since Scotts Bluff County Council has previously stated that it does not want county ratepayers to subsidize services, it is proposed that Box Butte County contribute 8% of the overall dispatch center budget, although that the affected population is only 6.93% of Scotts Bluff County. current workload.
The proposal also calls for the other county to pay the dispatch center $11,091.47 per month instead of the previously discussed $10,500 for personnel costs and to hire a new hire for the additional workload.
Box Butte County would also pay all equipment costs for its end separately from this amount. Additionally, they would provide training to Scotts Bluff County dispatch personnel.
“My thoughts on this project are that we’re kind of on a political back and forth,” Rexus told the board. “Once the acquisition was approved by my own advisory board…there were arrangements for Box Butte to join that board.”
Rexus said county communications staff will stay in touch on the county government vote. Once all parties agree on the specifications, representatives from both counties can move forward with the technical plans.
The Scotts Bluff County Board of Directors listened to Rexus’ update, but decided to take no action on it. The 911 advisory board is meeting on Tuesday, August 16 to consider formally recommending the plan to the commissioners.