From Sarpy County Board of Commissioners Chairman Don Kelly:
"As home and property owners across Sarpy County return to their homes to assess the flood damage, we are beginning to get this question: 'Am I going to be allowed to rebuild?'
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. At this time, we're still in the assessment phase, with Sarpy County teams spread out across the county.
But I can assure you that we will do everything we can to help you rebuild.
Every property will need to be evaluated on an individual basis, and the Sarpy County Planning and Building Department wants to meet with you to discuss your situation and plans.
The Board of Commissioners and all Sarpy County employees are committed to helping in any way we can."
To schedule a meeting with a member of the Sarpy County Planning and Building Department, please call 402-593-1555 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
If you have been affected by flooding AND have been allowed back into your home, you can request an electrical inspection. If your property is still restricted, we cannot accept your request at this time.
While many people pull together during times of crisis, there is also an increased risk for scams and fraud. To avoid scams, you need to ask questions – lots of them. Questions will help you determine if something is too good to be true. If the person trying to sell you a product or service can’t or won’t answer your questions or if the paperwork does not match the promises made to you, these are red flags and you might want to look for someone else.
Recognizing the tricks that scammers use, and the effects they have on us, can help you spot scams easier. Asking questions puts you back in control and puts any crooks on the spot.
Don’t necessarily trust titles that can be faked
Con artists may pose as government employees, insurance adjusters, law enforcement officials, bank employees or whoever it takes to get to your money. Titles are easy to fake. Always ask for identification and call the organization to confirm if the person works there. Never give personal information to anyone you don’t know. Also, remember that government employees will never ask you for financial information such as your bank account number.
One common scam is fake charities. These scams use names that are similar to organizations you may be familiar with to get you to make a “donation,” but your money ends up in the scammer’s pocket. Never make donations when you are contacted over the phone. Make sure you get the organization’s name and contact information and review written materials closely.
Don’t fall for “limited time only” offers
Scarcity is common in disasters, but don’t let it get the better of you. Be suspicious of contractors or others offering to move you to the front of the line. Also, beware of people offering “opportunities” that try to force you to make a snap decision. You should never make a decision under pressure. Take your time. Never sign anything without fully reading and understanding it first. If you are still unsure, ask a trusted relative, friend, or attorney for a second opinion before acting.
Be careful of mortgage scams
Most lenders will work with homeowners after a natural disaster and offer forbearance or some other form of loss mitigation assistance. Scammers often approach homeowners offering assistance to negotiate postponement of payments after a natural disaster. Consumers should contact their mortgage servicer for payment assistance and never pay anyone to negotiate with their servicer on their behalf.
Consult rating agencies and the IRS
Several websites and tools exist to help you recognize and prevent falling victim to charitable scams. Rating agencies such as BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator and CharityWatch evaluate groups based on a number of factors, including effectiveness, financial health, transparency, accountability, and complaints. The Better Business Bureau can also be a source of information about nonprofit organizations. GuideStar is another credible source of information about nonprofits. The IRS also provides an online tool called the Tax Exempt Organization Search to streamline the research process. It may not include some religious organizations, though.
Avoid unknown organizations
Consider donating to well-known and time-tested organizations such as the American Red Cross, United Way and The Salvation Army. Established disaster relief agencies are more trustworthy and likely more efficient than new or unknown charities. New organizations aren’t always operated by scammers. However, they might be inexperienced at dealing with major disaster relief efforts, and you want to ensure your money gets to the right place in a timely manner.
Steer clear of unknown individuals
It’s natural to want to help people adversely affected by natural disasters. If you know the individual, you might have better insight into how they use the funds. However, donations you make directly to an individual are not tax deductible. Conversely, if you give to someone you don’t know, you run the risk of falling victim to charitable scams. That person might toy with your emotions by telling a good story that makes them appear adversely affected by the disaster. In reality, the whole story is a lie. In those cases, your money is gone forever, and you probably have no recourse. In addition, beware of people who claim they are associated with charities, particularly if they solicit your donations via email or social networking sites. Pressure tactics can suggest they are fraudsters trying to take your cash.
Report charitable scams to the Federal and Local Government
Because charitable scams related to natural disasters occur regularly, the U.S. Department of Justice created the National Center for Disaster Fraud to investigate, prosecute and deter fraud. If you believe you were scammed – or suspect an organization is falsely collecting donations – you can call (866) 720-5721 to report it. The department is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also email email@example.com or fax your information to (225) 334-4707. Finally, you can report scams to the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office at 402-593-2288.
Sarpy County Commissioner Don Kelly joined officials from across the metro to help Gov. Pete Ricketts accept the Governor's Cup award from Site Selection Magazine. Nebraska earned the top spot for the third year in a row by having the most new projects per capita.
The Omaha metropolitan area, which includes Sarpy County, also earned the top spot for the fourth time in five years for metros with a population of 200,000 to 1 million. Growth and economic development in Sarpy County was a major factor in the award.
Read Site Selection Magazine's March 2019 issue, which includes all of their annual awards.
The Sarpy County Board of Commissioners is pleased to announce that William E. Conley is joining Sarpy County as the new Chief Financial Officer.
In his role, Conley will lead the Fiscal & Budget Department and oversee the county’s annual budget. He will begin his new position in April, replacing Brian Hanson, who is retiring after more than 33 years with Sarpy County.
“Sound financial stewardship is incredibly important in county government, especially one that’s growing as quickly as Sarpy County. Under Brian Hanson’s watch, we’ve earned the highest possible bond rating and maintained a healthy cash reserve, all while operating under a balanced budget. But he’s leaving the county in very capable hands. Bill Conley’s experience makes him the ideal candidate to lead our fiscal efforts through the challenges ahead of us, from financing a new jail to developing partnerships to improve mental health care across the region,” said Sarpy County Board Chair Don Kelly.
Conley brings more than 35 years of financial leadership to his new position, most recently as the Director of Finance & Infrastructure at the Northstar Foundation and Omaha Outward Bound School. He spent nine years as Vice Chancellor for Business & Finance at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where he oversaw a campus-wide budget of more than $350 million and more than $500 million in capital projects.
“My family and I moved to Sarpy County 10 years ago, and I love the area and the people, so I’m excited to join the Sarpy County team. As the fastest growing county in the state, development is happening everywhere, and I want to work to put the county government on even stronger financial footings.” Conley said. “I’m committed to ensuring Sarpy County is fiscally responsible and strategic when planning for the future.”
Conley earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and his master’s degree from UNO. He has held numerous community leadership roles, including with the Offutt Advisory Council, Westside Community Schools Foundation Board, Strategic Air & Space Museum Board of Directors, Heartland Chapter of the American Red Cross and Mid-America Council of Boy Scouts of America.
Sarpy County Emergency Crisis Stabilization Center Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Emergency Crisis Stabilization Center?
A stabilization center is a medical facility where people experiencing mental health crises receive short-term care and treatment before being transferred to a longer-term program. Those options include residential treatment facilities and outpatient programs. If a person is facing a serious criminal charge, they may be transferred to a correctional facility.
What type of services are offered at this type of facility?
Services may consist of assessment, diagnosis, abbreviated treatment planning, observation, case management, individual and group counseling, skills training, prescribing and monitoring of psychotropic medication, referrals and linkage. Service delivery is offered on a 24-hour basis to address the person’s immediate safety needs, develop resilience and create a plan to address the cyclical nature of behavioral health challenges and future behavioral health crises.
Why is this type of facility needed in Sarpy County?
Currently there is no mental health facility of this type in Sarpy County. As a result, people experiencing mental health crises often end up in the county jail, which is neither designed nor equipped to treat them. Hospital emergency rooms also deal with people in crisis, but the wait to see a mental health practitioner can be hours, allowing the person’s condition to further deteriorate.
Who will use the facility?
The facility will be available to all law enforcement agencies in the Region 6 Behavioral Health area. In addition to Sarpy County, this includes Cass, Douglas, Dodge and Washington counties. If space and staffing levels allow, it may be opened to other agencies.
Will the stabilization center take walk-ins? Can family members bring people there?
The primary use for the facility will be for those who come in contact with law enforcement. However, we are very early in the process of developing the operational plan for the facility and don’t want to rule out any possibilities at this time. As we build partnerships with various organizations and service providers, more options may become available. We don’t want to rule out any good idea this early in the process.
Will you treat adults and children?
The initial plan for the facility will be to treat adults. However, as we build partnerships with various organizations and service providers, more options may become available in the future. We want to remain open to good ideas.
What happens when a person is stabilized? Will they just be released?
A term we often hear is “treat and street.” First, we don’t like that term. Second, that is not our intention with this facility. The stabilization center will be the initial phase of care, where people dealing with crisis are stabilized, then connected with the next phase of treatment. That could be a longer-term facility, outpatient programs or other follow-up services. If the person is facing serious criminal charges, they will be transferred to a correctional facility.
What’s the end game? What is the ultimate goal of the facility?
Ultimately, the County hopes to improve mental health care in Sarpy County. Our jails and emergency rooms have become de facto treatment facilities. That does nothing but criminalize a medical issue and continue the cycle where people fall into crisis and find themselves dealing with law enforcement and the criminal justice system. We want to break that cycle by providing initial, stabilizing treatment and finding follow-up care and services.
Where does the County intend to build the stabilization center?
Sarpy County purchased 6 acres of land near Nebraska Medicine Bellevue to hold the facility. It is near 25th Street and Highway 370, though it isn’t directly at the corner. The land is approximately a quarter- to a half-mile south of the intersection.
Did the County look at other properties? How about vacant buildings?
Sarpy County officials looked at a number of properties across the county, including existing buildings. However, no vacant building met the space and configuration needs without extensive renovation, which can often cost as much as or more than a new building. By building our own facility, we can ensure that it meets our needs now and in the future, which is particularly important in a growing county. It also allows us to include space for other service providers and programs.
Why this location?
This site has a number of advantages. It is close to a major medical facility and easily accessible from Highways 370 and 75. Also, Bellevue is the largest city in the county, so it makes sense to put the facility where the population is centered. If you mapped all of the Emergency Crisis Response Team calls, this facility is centrally located within the response area.
What will the building look like?
The short answer is: we don’t know yet. We have a few sketches of what the facility could look like, but those are based on generic specifications. Now that we have a site and are developing the operating plan, we can design the facility to our exact specifications and needs. It will look like a medical building, not a correctional facility.
How much will it cost?
Based on initial estimates of space needs, the building is estimated to cost between $10-$13 million. Those costs could change as more formal plans for the location and building are finalized.
How will the County pay for the facility?
Sarpy County purchased the land for $1 million. Moving forward, we intend to pursue a public-private partnership model, where we engage private companies and other government agencies to help us build and operate the facility so it doesn’t fall entirely on the taxpayers. This may include partnerships with medical providers, service organizations and other government entities. User fees from outside agencies as well as Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance reimbursements will also offset some of the costs.
Will the building be secure? Will it be safe?
The stabilization center will be a medical facility, not a jail. However, because it’s primary purpose will be to stabilize those who come in contact with law enforcement, including those who are facing criminal charges, it will be a secure facility. Security will be a focus throughout the planning, design and implementation phases.
Will the building hurt neighboring property values?
This will be a stand-alone medical facility built adjacent to a hospital. Nearby residential property values should not be affected. The presence of the stabilization center could make nearby commercial properties more attractive to other medical and service providers, increasing the value of nearby vacant properties.
When a child enters the foster care system, they often feel overwhelmed, trapped in a revolving door of caseworkers, attorneys and judges.
At Sarpy County CASA, we work to be a constant in the lives of more than 400 abused and neglected children in Sarpy County.
But we need your help!
As a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), you can help ensure that a child’s needs are being met while they reach a safe, permanent home. CASA volunteers are not foster parents. They are trained volunteers who get to know a child in the foster care system and advocate for their best interests. CASA volunteers must be at least 21 years old and commit to at least one year of advocacy.
Our next CASA volunteer training session begins in April. Classes are on Monday evenings from 6-9 p.m.
For several years, Sarpy County has been actively working to address two major issues: jail overcrowding and the growing mental health crisis, two intertwined problems.
With very few secure treatment facilities available in the area, people experiencing a mental health crises often end up in the county jail, which isn’t designed or equipped to meet their needs. These inmates tend to spend more time in jail and return more frequently, exacerbating the overcrowding issue.
Sarpy County has already taken a number of steps to address this issue, with the goal of finding treatment for people with mental illnesses, not incarcerating them. The county’s Mental Health Diversion program diverts people to treatment instead of toward punishment. The Mental Health Case Management program, recognized as a national leader by the National Criminal Justice Association, provides intensive supervision to those in custody or awaiting trial while also offering treatment referrals and help establishing independent living skills.
But officials recognize that more progress needs to be made. To lead this effort, Sarpy County formed a Mental Health Leadership Team with representatives from the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners, Sheriff’s Office, County Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, County Administration and Region 6 Behavioral Health.
The Leadership Team identified the need for a crisis stabilization center as a top priority. Following the team’s recommendation, on Tuesday, the County Board voted to purchase approximately six acres of land near Nebraska Medicine-Bellevue for the facility.
“This is the first step, but an important step, toward improving mental health care in Sarpy County,” said Sarpy County Board Chair Don Kelly. “There’s a definite need in Sarpy County, really the entire state, for a facility of this type. We’re prepared to lead this effort with the help of public and private partners from across the region.”
Though still in the preliminary design phase, the facility is expected to cost $10-$13 million to build, with projected operating costs between $2-$2.5 million a year.
“After years of recognizing the need for accessible mental health resources, I am excited Sarpy County is taking this concrete step toward establishing its own crisis stabilization center,” said Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov. “This center will allow law enforcement more time to focus on keeping our county safe, while providing citizens in crisis with a place to obtain mental health services and a connection to community resources. Moving forward with this project affirms our dedication to improving public safety and the justice system, and I am in full support of Sarpy County’s effort to address this growing need.”
The stabilization center will be available to all law enforcement agencies in the Region 6 service area.
“The Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office believes psychiatric emergencies are medical, not criminal, and persons in mental health crisis should be provided the proper care and services to avoid future contacts with law enforcement. Establishing a mental health crisis stabilization center would allow persons with a mental illness to receive proper treatment and avoid incarceration, furthering Sarpy County’s goal to decriminalize mental illness,” said Sarpy County Sheriff Jeff Davis.
Sarpy County will use cash on hand to pay the $1,050,000-purchase price for the land located southeast of 25th Street and Highway 370.
“We knew this would take considerable investment, so we’ve been saving for both a mental health facility and a new jail.” Kelly said.
Commissioners are currently evaluating final sites for a jail. A decision is expected within the next 30 to 60 days.
The Sarpy County Assessor's Office has mailed the 2019 Nebraska Homestead Exemption forms to property owners who filed for the Nebraska Homestead Exemption last year as well as those who requested forms be mailed to them for 2019. The completed forms are due June 30.
The Nebraska homestead exemption program is a property tax relief program for six categories of homeowners:
1. Persons over age 65.
2. Veterans totally disabled by a nonservice-connected accident or illness.
3. Qualified disabled individuals.
4. Qualified totally disabled veterans and their widow(er)s; unremarried widow(er)s of a servicemember who died on active duty.
5. Veterans whose home was substantially contributed to by the Department of Veterans Affairs and their widow(er)s.
6. Individuals who have a developmental disability.
Sarpy County is partnering with the City of Omaha to transform a mile-long stretch of Harrison Street from 147th to 157th Street. The two-lane road is being upgraded to a four-lane arterial street with turn lanes and medians. The project will improve safety and travel times in the area.
Preliminary work on the project began in late 2017 with tree removal and the construction of noise-reduction walls. Phase 1, which was completed in November 2018, included reconfiguring the intersection of 156th and Harrison streets.
Phase 2 is scheduled to start this spring, with the final phase complete in late 2019.
The public is invited to attend a construction kick-off meeting and open house from 5:30-7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 18.
The meeting will be at Andersen Middle School, 15404 Adams St. The main parking lot is on the north side of the school. Additional parking may be available on the south side of the school and on Adams Street.
The meeting will include a brief presentation at 5:45 p.m. to share information and a projected timeline for the second and third phases of construction. An open house will follow until 7 p.m., during which time team members from Sarpy County, the City of Omaha and Olsson will be available to discuss the project and answer questions.
Calling the Census a county-wide priority, Sarpy County Commissioners today appointed Michelle Y. Andahl to serve as Executive Chair of the county's Census 2020 Complete Count Committee.
Local governments across the country form Complete Count Committees to plan and implement outreach efforts to publicize the importance of the Census, with particular focus on traditionally undercounted populations.
"In addition to determining how many federal and state legislative representatives we have, the Census figures play a huge role in determining how federal funds are distributed," said Commissioner Don Kelly. "Any individual not counted is a loss of potential funding for the county. As a Board, we're committed to a complete and accurate Census count, and I know that under Michelle Andahl's guidance we'll get that."
Andahl has 25 years experience leading grassroots and community marketing campaigns on the local, statewide and national level. Her role as Election Commissioner gives her a unique working knowledge of Sarpy County's population distribution and the challenges of counting every resident.
"I'm incredibly honored to lead this important countywide effort and excited to begin recruiting key community partners and business leaders to serve on Census 2020 Complete Count Committee," Andahl said.
Members of the committee will be named in the coming weeks.
The official selection committee voted 3-0 today to name Angela Burmeister as the District 3 representative on the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners.
Burmeister, Managing Partner at Berkshire & Bermeister Law Offices, is the chair of the Nebraska State Bar Association’s Legislation and Annual Meeting committees. Since 2013, she has represented District 4 on the Nebraska Supreme Court’s Unauthorized Practice of Law Commission.
She graduated from Bellevue West High School, then attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. She received her law degree from Creighton School of Law.
Burmeister serves on the Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska Board of Directors and the Omaha Children’s Museum’s Guild Board. She served on the Fontenelle Forest Board of Directors from 2009-2017, including one term as President of the Board.
The District 3 seat became vacant when Brian Zuger resigned on Jan. 2 to assume the position of Sarpy County Treasurer. He was elected to the new position in November. Burmeister will serve the remaining two years of the term.
Per state statute, the Sarpy County Attorney, County Clerk and County Treasurer served as the selection committee. Fourteen applicants met the Jan. 18 deadline to apply and were considered for the position.
Fourteen Sarpy County residents applied to fill the open District 3 seat on the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners. District 3 represents the northeast corner of Sarpy County, including much of the city of Bellevue. (View District Map)
The seat became vacant when Brian Zuger resigned on Jan. 2 to assume the position of Sarpy County Treasurer. He was elected to the new position in November.
Per state statute, County Attorney Lee Polikov, County Clerk Deb Houghtaling and County Treasurer Zuger will serve as the selection committee to choose the new Commissioner.
The committee will interview candidates on Friday, Jan. 25, in the Sarpy County Boardroom in the Sarpy County Courthouse. The session is open to the public.
Each candidate will be given five minutes to make a statement about their qualifications and why they want to serve, followed by up to 10 minutes of questions posed by the selection committee.
Following the interviews, the committee will meet in a closed session to discuss the candidates. They will then return to regular session to make their final votes.
The schedule for the interviews on Jan. 25 is as follows:
An increasing number of people have fallen victim to fake DMV websites, according to the Sarpy County Treasurer’s Office.
These websites illegally collect personal information, credit card numbers and money while posing as a representative of the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles.
The Sarpy County Treasurer’s Office is providing these tips for people who are renewing their vehicle registration online:
In Nebraska, dmv.Nebraska.gov is the only website where you can renew your vehicle registration and license plates. Verify the URL before entering any personal information.
You will never have to enter the year, make or model of your vehicle.
Your renewal charge will never be $9.99 or $19.99.
There are no advertisements on the official Nebraska DMV website. Fake sites often include ads for insurance or gift cards.
When you look at your bank or credit card statement, the charge should be listed as “Nebraska.gov DMV Plate …” If the charge is listed under any other name, contact your bank or credit card company immediately.
The beginning of your online renewal will look like this:
dmv.Nebraska.gov is a safe and secure way to renew your registration. However, if you don’t feel comfortable completing your registration online, there are other options. You can send your renewal payment through the mail or you can renew in person at the Sarpy County Treasurer’s Office in the Sarpy County Courthouse. No matter which method you choose for your renewal, make sure you have proof of insurance available.
If you have questions about vehicle registration in Sarpy County, please contact the Sarpy County Treasurer’s Office at 402-593-2148 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sarpy County Emergency Communications Department has an updated 911 simulator, thanks to a grant from Walmart.
Dispatchers use the simulator as part of their Outreach Program to give kids hands-on experience with 911. The update will allow the children to dial or text 911 from a provided cellphone, which is routed to an instructor who acts as if the call or text was an actual emergency.
Currently, 81% of all 911 calls to the Sarpy County Emergency Communications Center come from wireless phones. Unlike landlines, cellphones don't provide exact locations to the dispatch center, so it is important for callers to know their location. The upgraded simulator will help dispatchers teach kids the importance of that information when they visit schools and other community events across Sarpy County.
A new traffic signal is now operational at the intersection of Highway 370 and 192nd Street. The signal was turned on just after 10 a.m. on Jan. 15.
The new signal will improve traffic flow and safety along the highway near Gretna.
The Nebraska Department of Transportation is responsible for the state highway system, including installing traffic signals. However, Sarpy County agreed to lead the project to speed up the installation timeline.
“I applaud the Sarpy County Engineer and the Public Works Department for stepping up and leading this important project. It will be a huge safety improvement for drivers leaving Aspen Creek, and it should take some pressure off of the roads leading to and from the nearby Gretna schools,” said Sarpy County Commissioner Jim Warren.
Permanent equipment and poles will be installed in the coming months to replace the temporary poles now in operation at the intersection.
The safety of drivers along Highway 370 is a priority for the Sarpy County Board and they will continue to push the state for more safety improvements.
The preliminary property assessments for all residential properties in Sarpy County are now online. To view the assessment for your property or neighboring properties, visit the Sarpy County Property Search tool on our website.
To use the Property Search tool, it's easiest to enter your house number in the "Address" field, then hit "Submit." A list of properties will come up. Click on "View Details" next to the property you are looking for. The 2019 preliminary assessment will be listed under "Valuation Information."
The Sarpy County Assessor’s Office encourages all residential property owners to review their preliminary assessment. If you have questions or concerns, the Assessor’s Office encourages you to reach out to speak with them directly. They can address many issues and corrections without the need for a formal protest, saving you time and effort.
Touting the need for experienced leadership, Sarpy County Commissioners today elected Don Kelly to serve a fourth consecutive term as Chair of the Sarpy County Board.
Kelly represents District 1, which covers the southeast corner of the county. He was first elected to the board in 2013. His current term expires in December 2020.
“This year is going to be critical to the future of Sarpy County, and we’re on the precipice of a number of important decisions.” Kelly said. “Our major initiatives for 2019 include financing and construction of the Southern Sarpy Wastewater System; addressing the need for a new jail; developing partnerships to provide better, more comprehensive mental health services; and investing significant resources on our arterial roads and infrastructure projects that will support continued growth and economic development.”
Commissioners also re-elected Jim Warren to serve as Vice Chair, a position he has held since 2017. Warren represents District 5 in western Sarpy County.
Other actions taken by the Board
Approved an agreement with E&A Consulting Group for professional services related to improvements on Giles Road from 192nd Street and Highway 6.
Accepted a Justice Assistance Grant for the Mental Health Case Management program, which assists mentally ill persons involved in the criminal justice system by providing services designed to help them establish independent living skills, manage their mental illness and reduce future contacts with the criminal justice system.
Family, friends and Sarpy County employees filled the Sarpy County Boardroom on Jan. 3, 2019, as seven newly elected officials took their oaths of office.
District Judge Nathan Cox presided over the ceremony and administered the oaths to:
• Clerk of the District Court Dori Heath – Heath is starting her first term in office after serving as Chief Deputy Clerk of the District Court for two years. Before joining Sarpy County, Heath was the District Court Clerk in Colfax County for 14 years. She received her bachelor's degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University and her master's degree from Creighton.
• County Assessor Dan Pittman – Pittman is starting his sixth term as Assessor. He was first elected in 1998. Pittman earned his bachelor's degree from Grace University and his master's degree from Bellevue University. He also served in the U.S. Navy for six years.
• County Attorney Lee Polikov – Polikov has served as Sarpy County Attorney since 1999. He spent 26 years working at the Sarpy County Sheriff's Office. He received his law degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
• County Engineer Dennis Wilson – Wilson was first elected in 2010 as the Sarpy County Surveyor, a role that was changed to Engineer. In this role, he oversees the Sarpy County Public Works Department.
• County Treasurer Brian Zuger – Zuger is starting his first term as Treasurer. He served as a Sarpy County Commissioner for two years representing District 3. Zuger received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Bellevue University.
• Commissioner David Klug – Klug is starting his first term representing District 2 on the County Board of Commissioners. He served for 12 years on the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District Board of Directors. He is the Director of Process for Think Whole Person Healthcare. He received his bachelor's and master's degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
• Commissioner Jim Warren – Warren, who represents District 5, is starting his third term on the Board of Commissioners. He served on the Gretna City Council for two years and was Mayor of Gretna for 12 years. Warren is a member of the Gretna Volunteer Fire Department and has served in various offices for that organization. He earned his bachelor's degree from Toccoa Falls College.
Brian Zuger, County Commissioner District 3, has resigned his seat (effective January 2, 2019) after being elected to serve as Sarpy County Treasurer. Pursuant to Nebraska Rev. Statute 32-567, his successor is to be chosen by the County Attorney, County Clerk and County Treasurer. Such vacancy is to be filled within 45 days of the occurrence of the vacancy.
The Sarpy County Board and Board of Equalization meet most Tuesday afternoons at 3 p.m. and attend various additional meetings as required.
Minimum qualifications for the position are that the applicant:
Must be a registered voter within Commissioner District #3.
The appointed person will serve until December 31, 2020, and candidates wanting to be elected into the seat will have to be on the election ballot in November 2020 for January 2021. If the appointed person wishes to continue to serve on the Board, he or she would have to run for election.
Interested individuals are asked to submit an application/release form to the Sarpy County Clerk, Attention: Board Secretary, 1210 Golden Gate Drive, Papillion, NE 68046, by the close of business, 4:45 p.m. on Friday, January 18, 2019.
A public meeting will be convened at 9 a.m., Friday, January 25, 2019, for the purpose of interviewing applicants and appointing the new commissioner for District 3.
For Additional Information Contact:
Lee Polikov, Sarpy County Attorney 593-2230
Deb Houghtaling, Sarpy County Clerk 593-4155
Brian Zuger, Sarpy County Treasurer 593-2138
About the Board of Commissioners
Sarpy County is governed by a five member Board of Commissioners who set the policies and tax levies for Sarpy County. The County is divided into five commissioner districts; each represented by a resident elected from that district to serve a four year term of office. The current Board of Commissioners are as follows:
District 1 – Don Kelly, Chairman (Vice Chair to be determined)
District 2 – David Klug
District 3 – Vacant (position to be appointed)
District 4 – Gary Mixan
District 5 – Jim Warren
Summary of Board Duties and Responsibilities
Members of the Board of Commissioners are collectively responsible for establishing policy, adopting an annual budget, and providing vision and goals to the Administrator(s). The following outline is a brief description of the various duties of Board Members. The description is not intended to be comprehensive, but rather it is an effort to summarize the primary responsibilities of the Board.
Adopt goals and objectives
Approve/amend the operating and capital budgets
Supervision of Administration
Hire the County Administrator
Evaluate the performance of the Administrator
Provide Public Leadership
Promote representative governance
Mediate conflicting interests while building a consensus
Communicate the County’s vision and goals to taxpayers
Represent the County’s interest at regional, county, state, and federal levels
Study county issues/problems and review alternatives
Determine best course of public policy
Board Meetings & Time Commitment
Board Meetings are scheduled every Tuesday at 3 p.m. Meetings typically last between 1 hour and 2.25 hours. Other time commitments may include liaison assignments, local group meetings and various executive meetings, special meetings and training events.
Board members are compensated $26,095 annually.
Sarpy County is joining the Omaha Regional Interoperability Network (ORION), which operates the Land Mobile Radio (LMR) system for the Omaha Public Power District and Douglas, Washington and Pottawattamie Counties, including emergency communications for the cities of Omaha and Council Bluffs. Sarpy will contribute its radio core and the two systems will be joined by implementing Dynamic System Resilience (DSR).
DSR ensures uninterrupted radio coverage in the event of a prolonged power outage, equipment failure or physical damage to a primary radio core. DSR enables the system to switch automatically to a backup core to assure radio availability, reliability and network management.
Sarpy has been in talks with ORION since March 2018 and accepted Sarpy’s membership request in November. The Sarpy County Board of Commissioners and the governing boards of the ORION membership approved the agreement at their respective meetings this week.
“Joining ORION is an important step for Sarpy County. It adds a layer of redundancy to our emergency communications systems and allows us to develop close partnerships across the region that benefit our first responders,” said Sarpy County Emergency Communications Director William Muldoon.
Currently, both ORION and Sarpy County own and operate their own radio systems, which support critical communications for each agency. The project to merge the two systems is expected to take 12 to 15 months. The new system will allow emergency dispatchers and first responders from different agencies to communicate with one another more effectively through a single radio system. The merger will also decrease costs for individual agencies, as they no longer have to support separate systems.
The system is being built with future expansion in mind.
Ahead of its move to a new space at Werner Park, the Sarpy County Tourism office is temporarily relocating to the Sarpy County Courthouse.
Starting Dec. 17, the Tourism office will be open on the first floor of the Courthouse’s administrative wing. The space previously housed the DMV’s Drivers Licensing office.
In the Spring, the Tourism office will move to its new home at Werner Park, which is currently under construction. The partnership with the Omaha Storm Chasers will give the Tourism Department more visibility, as thousands of people visit the stadium each week during the baseball season. The new offices will be larger and offer more parking than the current location.
Sarpy County Tourism’s temporary physical location:
1210 Golden Gate Drive
Papillion, NE 68046
New mailing address (starting Dec. 17, even before physical location changes)
12356 Ballpark Way
Papillion, NE 68046
The Sarpy County Board of Commissioners today adopted a new Road Improvement Policy that lays out how the County will plan, fund and prioritize road projects.
“Sarpy County is growing at an amazing rate, and that growth will continue to put pressure on our already limited resources. This policy gives us a path to better prioritize road projects and support economic development across the County,” said Sarpy County Board Chairman Don Kelly.
As part of new policy, the County Engineer will develop a three-year road program that will be implemented through the County’s annual budget. The three-year plan will help provide a clear picture of what funds will be required in future years.
The policy also incorporates the County’s existing practice of collaborating with private developers to build and improve roads.
“We don’t have an unlimited amount of money for roads, so by identifying the County’s contributions and establishing partnerships with the development community, we’ll be able to make tax dollars go farther,” Kelly said.
Other actions taken by the Board at the Dec. 11 meeting
Approved two agreements to improve the redundancy and resiliency of the County’s emergency communications network. The Board approved resolutions to join the Omaha Regional Inter-Operability Network (ORION), which operates a Land Mobile Radio System, and VIPER (Voice Over Internet Protocol for Emergency Response), a multi-node phone system.
Granted permission to seek bids for professional engineering services for the final design of the intersection at 108th Street and Platteview Road.
The Sarpy County Sheriff's Office and the Omaha Police Department will hold an amnesty day for guns, ammunition and fireworks on Jan. 19, 2019.
Bring your unwanted guns, ammunition or fireworks to the Sarpy County Sheriff's Office from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. No questions asked.
The Sheriff's Office and the Omaha Police Department will dispose of the items safely.
What: Amnesty Day for guns, ammo and fireworks Time: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Date: Jan. 19, 2019 Where: South Parking Lot Garage of the Sarpy County Sheriff's Office, 8335 Platteview Road, Papillion, NE 68046 Questions: 402-593-2288
Sarpy County 911 dispatcher Katie Porter received a Life Saving Award at today's Sarpy County Board of Commissioners meeting.
On Oct. 10, Porter answered a 911 call from a woman asking for help for her husband, who was on the floor and not responding. She quickly dispatched crews from the Bellevue Police Department and Bellevue Fire and Rescue, then began CPR instructions for the caller. Porter counted out loud with the caller to verify the chest compressions were being performed correctly and kept the woman focused until EMS arrived.
The rescue crew transported the patient to Nebraska Medicine Bellevue, where he was successfully resuscitated, and he has since been released.
"Your role in the chain of patient care worked successfully, and together with law enforcement and EMS personnel, a life was saved," Sarpy County Emergency Communications Director William Muldoon said while presenting Porter with the award.
The Sarpy County Election Commission is predicting a 53% voter turnout in Sarpy County for the 2018 Gubernatorial General Election.
With record breaking numbers for voter registration and early voting ballot requests, numbers for the 2018 mid-term are more on par with a presidential election year. In the 2104 mid-term General Election, 12,000 voters requested Early Voting Ballots. This year, more than 25,000 Early Voting Ballots have been requested and more than 18,000 have already been returned with 5 days remaining until Election Day. During the 2016 General Election, 31,000 voters requested Early Voting Ballots.
“We are seeing record-breaking participation in this election by Sarpy County voters. It’s always great to see citizens exercising their voting rights,” Sarpy County Election Commissioner Michelle Andahl said. “One exciting aspect of this election is the number of young first-time voters that have registered. We have over 1,200 voters that registered this year who are 18 and will be voting in their first election.”
Andahl added: “We encourage all voters who do not want to vote at a polling location or who just want more time to study the candidates and issues, to come to our office to request an early ballot.”
If voters want to cast an early ballot, they can visit the Sarpy County Election Office through 5 p.m. Nov. 5 to vote in person or take a ballot home with them. The Election Office is at 501 Olson Drive in Papillion. It shares the same parking lot as Jerzes Bar and Grill. Look for the giant inflatable Early Voting Eagle on top of the office.
Ballots can be mailed in or dropped off in the Election Office during business hours. Ballots also can be dropped off 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at one of the four ballot drop boxes located around Sarpy County.
The Sarpy County Election Commission is pleased to announce that Sarpy County has surpassed 113,000 registered voters for the first time, with 113,132 eligible voters registered for the Nov. 6 election.
“Reaching this registration milestone shows the tremendous growth our county continues to experience,” said Sarpy County Election Commissioner Michelle Andahl. “In just the weeks since Sept. 1, we have registered more than 1,900 new voters in Sarpy County, demonstrating that people across the metro know Sarpy is a great place to live and work.”
Early voting also has hit a record high for mid-term elections in Sarpy County, with 24,792 Early Voting Ballots requested by mail. An additional 3,000 voters have already cast their ballots at the election office.
“I want to encourage each one of our 113,132 voters to cast their ballot in this year’s general election,” said Andahl, who added that voters must return their Early Voting Ballots to the Election Office or one of four drop boxes by 8 p.m. on Nov. 6.
In 2014, 101,144 people registered to vote in the mid-term elections.
The statewide general election will be Tuesday, Nov. 6. Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Sarpy County is experiencing a crisis, and we are not alone.
Counties across the country a facing a shortage of treatment facilities, meaning people experiencing mental health crises often end up in a county jail while their cases work through the criminal justice system.
Sarpy County already has taken a number of steps to address these issues, but officials recognize that there is more progress to be made. To lead this effort, Sarpy County established a Mental Health Leadership Team with representatives from the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office, County Attorney’s Office, County Administration, Board of Commissioners, Public Defender’s Office and Region 6 Behavioral Health.
The team is studying a number of counties across the nation whose approaches to mental health care and treatment are seen as national models. Those counties include:
Bexar County, Texas – Over the past 15 years, Bexar County, which is home to San Antonio, has focused on collaboration to identify and treat people with mental illnesses. The coalition brings together law enforcement, judges, government officials, community leaders and the medical community. Two key parts of the program are the San Antonio Police Department’s mental health unit and The Center for Health Care Services - The Restoration Center, a one-stop shop for people in need of treatment and social services.
Pima County, Arizona – Identified as a model site by the Bureau of Justice Affairs, Pima County focuses on investing in and supporting behavioral health initiatives, including court-ordered evaluation services and behavioral health services for people detained at the jail and juvenile detention center. They also built two state-of-the-art facilities, a Crisis Response Center and a Behavioral Health Pavilion. The county leases these facilities to organizations that provide crisis and behavioral health services in the County.
In addition to looking at model sites, the Leadership Team is also working to coordinate services currently available in Sarpy County. Team members and community partners from across Sarpy County took part in a Sequential Intercept Mapping exercise sponsored by Region 6. The exercise created a “map” of how people dealing with mental health crises come in contact with and flow through the criminal justice system. The map shows opportunities for intervention, where people can be redirected toward treatment.
The exercise also identified a number of gaps where additional treatment options are needed, including the need for a crisis stabilization center for use by Sarpy County law enforcement agencies.
More in the “Mental Health in Sarpy County” series
The Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office, The Sarpy County Attorney’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Agency, along with community sponsors, are hosting their annual Fall Medicine Drop on Oct, 27, 2018.
Bring any expired or unused medication to the HyVee parking lot in Shadow Lake (Hwy 370 & 72nd Street) between 9 a.m. and noon.
No needles, syringes, aerosol containers or liquids will be accepted.
This is part of an ongoing effort to rid homes in our community of unnecessary, unused and expired medications. Do your part to ensure these medications do not end up in the wrong hands or in our water system.
Everything collected is incinerated, container and all, so no personal information is compromised.
Drive up, drop off, drive away. No questions asked.
As any community grows, it is important to have a well-defined plan. This is especially true in Sarpy County, the fastest growing county in the state.
Community planners guide growth by working with elected officials and members of the public, as well as professionals from different fields such as public health, recreation and engineering. They help leverage public and private funds that lead to business growth, job creation and economically resilient communities.
In Sarpy County, the result of this work is the Sarpy County Comprehensive Plan, which incorporates the growth plans for the five cities and creates a unified vision for the build-out of the county. The plan, developed by the Sarpy County Planning Department and Sarpy County Planning Commissioner with input from key stakeholders and the public, received the Daniel Burnham Award for Outstanding Comprehensive Plan from the Nebraska Chapter of the American Planning Association.
In honor of this work, the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners has proclaimed October as Community Planning Month. (Read the Proclamation)
The proclamation coincides with National Community Planning Month, which was established in 2006 as a way to highlight the importance of community planning. This year’s theme is “Housing as Community Infrastructure,” emphasizing the important roles housing plays in creating community.
If you apply those numbers to Sarpy County, that’s more than 36,000 people dealing with some type of mental health issue, ranging in severity from mild to serious. But there are very few secure treatment facilities available in the area. As a result, people experiencing mental health crises often end up in the county jail, which isn’t designed or equipped to meet their needs.
Sarpy County has already taken a number of steps to address this issue, with the goal of finding treatment for people with mental illnesses, not incarcerating them.
The County is an active partner in Region 6 Behavioral Healthcare, which coordinates a network of mental health and substance abuse providers; and Sarpy County’s Mental Health Diversion and Mental Health Pretrial programs work with people in the criminal justice system to help them find available treatment and resources.
Earlier this year, Sarpy County established a Mental Health Leadership Team to guide a coordinated County-wide response. The team includes representatives from the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office, County Attorney’s Office, County Administration, County Board of Commissioners, Public Defender's Office and Region 6.
Sarpy County recently received an $81,700 grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, part of the U.S. Department of Justice, to help fund this effort. The County will use the funds to provide a social worker to help law enforcement deal with individuals experiencing mental health crises, to help identify gaps in mental health services and to deal with opioid addiction.
In the coming weeks, we’ll provide more information about the County’s efforts to address mental health needs, how mental health issues affect the inmates at the Sarpy County jail, and the need for a mental health facility in the county.
Sarpy County Deputy Lindsay Varona’s new patrol cruiser is personal, and it’s pink.
Varona will be the first deputy to drive the department’s new Breast Cancer Awareness cruiser.
“My grandmother is an 18-year survivor,” Varona said, “so I’m really proud to be a part of this.”
The Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office unveiled the new themed cruiser at a ceremony on Oct. 8. The design includes a pink hood, pink ribbons and the message "Early detection saves lives." A ring of ribbons on the back of the cruiser also pays tribute to other types of cancer.
Rep. Don Bacon and Karen Daneu, the CEO of Susan G. Komen Great Plains, served as the keynote speakers for the event.
Bacon spoke about his younger sister, Beth, who died in 2006 after a battle with breast cancer.
Daneu said she hopes the cruiser's message will help the Susan G. Komen organization meet its goal of cutting the breast cancer death rate in half by 2026.
Sarpy County Sheriff Jeff Davis, whose sister is a breast cancer survivor, emphasized that the Breast Cancer Awareness cruiser is a working vehicle that will be on routine patrol for three years.
“Hopefully, someone sees this cruiser and gets the message, because it's true that ‘early detection saves lives’,” he said.
Breast Cancer Awareness cruiser unveiling ceremony
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office has designed a special patrol cruiser. Deputies will drive the themed cruiser on routine patrol for the next three years as a way to raise awareness year-round.
The Breast Cancer Awareness patrol cruiser will be unveiled at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, October 8, in the north parking lot of the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office, 8335 Platteview Road in Papillion.
Rep. Don Bacon and Karen Daneu will be the keynote speakers. Rep. Bacon’s sister lost her battle to breast cancer at the age of 39; his mother is a breast cancer survivor. Karen Daneu is the CEO of the Susan G. Komen Great Plains Affiliate.
The event is open to the public and all cancer survivors are encouraged to attend.
In July, more than 500 Sarpy County taxpayers appealed their property valuations to the Sarpy County Board. During this annual review, the Board sided with approximately 50 property owners who challenged how the first acre of their agricultural land was valued by the Sarpy County Assessor’s Office.
“The first acre rule used by the County Assessor to determine valuation isn’t fair to rural property owners,” said Commissioner Jim Warren, Vice Chairman of the Sarpy County Board. “Lowering the assessed value is the right thing to do, and frankly, I wish it’s something we could do for all of rural landowners, not just the 50 or so who filed protests.”
The total change in valuation is approximately $1.35 million, which means the County Board reduced the overall tax base by just under $4,000.
The Assessor’s Office filed an appeal with Nebraska Tax Equalization and Review Commission, seeking to have the reduction reversed.
County Board Chairman Don Kelly criticized the Assessor’s decision to file an appeal because it may require both sides to hire outside representation at the County’s expense.
"The Board and the Assessor are represented by the County Attorney, so to avoid a conflict of interest we may have to hire two different outside lawyers and probably spend well over the $4,000 the Assessor is challenging. This is just a colossal waste of the taxpayers’ money on the part of the Assessor’s Office, and I’d prefer that office focus its efforts on ensuring the accuracy of valuations of" all types of properties across the county,” Kelly said.
Sarpy County voters have three new convenient locations for returning their ballots for the upcoming general election.
The Sarpy County Election Commission installed secure, drive-up Early Ballot Drop Boxes in Bellevue, Papillion and Gretna, said County Election Commissioner Michelle Y. Andahl.
“Voters have been requesting more locations where early ballots could be returned. They wanted locations closer to where they live and work; and they wanted more options that didn’t rely on the mail system. Our hope is that the new Early Ballot Drop Boxes will make returning early ballots easier for everyone in Sarpy County,” Andahl said.
The new drop boxes are at:
Sarpy County campus, 1248 Golden Gate Drive, Papillion
Bellevue Public Library, 1003 Lincoln Road, Bellevue
McKinney’s Food Center, 215 Enterprise Drive, Gretna
An existing drop box outside the Election Commission office, 501 Olson Drive, was moved onto an island in the office’s parking lot to make it more accessible.
Each drop box features three locking mechanisms and is secured to a cement pad, Andahl said.
The boxes will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the election cycle, and Election Commission employees will empty the boxes each day.
Over the past week, the Sarpy County Election Commission sent Early Voting Ballot Request applications to more than 110,000 eligible voters in Sarpy County. In addition to allowing the voter to ask for a ballot by mail, the form also provides the name and address of the voter’s polling location.
In April, around 30,000 voters in Sarpy County received notice that their voting place had changed ahead of the May Primary Election. Sarpy County Election Commissioner Michelle Andahl said her office relocated the polling sites out of kindergarten through 12th grade schools with the help of local businesses and faith-based organizations.
“School districts in Sarpy County have always been accommodating and gracious about hosting polling sites inside of schools,” Andahl said. “However, it also posed challenges for schools and law enforcement as they worked to balance security protocols with providing public access without impediment on Election Day.”
The Election Commission is asking voters, even those not requesting a ballot by mail, to keep the request applications to use as a reference for finding their correct polling locations.
The Election Commission will begin mailing early voting ballots on Oct. 1. All ballots must be returned to the election office by 8 p.m. on Nov. 6. Early in-person voting at the election office begins Oct. 9.
No early voting ballots can be returned to a polling place.
On Tuesday, the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners approved a 4-year labor contract with three separate public unions. The new contracts will provide an annual 2 percent base wage adjustment.
The Board unanimously approved the contracts with the Sarpy County Public Employees Association and two units of the Fraternal Order of Police. The Board also approved pay schedules for managers, non-union employees, assistant public defenders and deputy county attorneys.
“If you look across the public sector, these are conservative, yet fair, increases,” said Vice Chairman Jim Warren. “Our primary focus is to provide the best possible service for the lowest possible cost. That’s what the Sarpy County taxpayers deserve, and staying firm at 2 percent provides that.”
The three bargaining units represent the County’s dispatchers, non-sworn employees of the Sheriff’s Office and administrative workers. A similar agreement with the Nebraska Public Employees Union Local 251 is expected in the next few weeks.
“A four-year contract provides budget stability and lets us plan farther ahead, which is critical as Sarpy County continues to grow,” Warren said.
The Sarpy County Board of Commissioners today approved the appointment of Tracy D. Jones as Sarpy County Veterans Service Officer.
In the role, Jones will oversee the County’s Veterans Service Office, which provides assistance to Veterans and their families when applying for federal, state and local benefits; advocates for
Veterans and Veterans’ issues; and represents Sarpy County Veterans in local communities and on Veterans organizations.
“As a County Commissioner and as a Veteran, I’m excited to welcome Tracy to our management team,” said Sarpy County Board Chair Don Kelly. “His experience providing career counseling to Service members and leading customer service focused teams make him an ideal candidate to serve the Veterans in Sarpy County.”
Jones served for 28 years in the United States Air Force, retiring as Command Chief Master Sergeant of the 100th Air Refueling Wing in Mildenhall, England. He deployed in support of Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Management from Bellevue University and his Master’s Degree in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma.
“I am very excited to take care of our Veterans. They put it all on the line for us, and I can’t think of a better honor than to serve them,” Jones said.
The Sarpy County and Cities Wastewater Agency on Wednesday took a major step in its mission to build a sanitary sewer system in southern Sarpy County.
The Wastewater Agency board unanimously voted to begin building the sewer system in the Zwiebel Creek watershed. The area, which stretches roughly from 84th to 60th streets south of Highway 370, will open new land for development south of Papillion and west of Bellevue.
“This is going to be huge for Sarpy County and the cities in terms of growth,” said Sarpy County Commissioner Don Kelly, who serves as the Chairman of the Wastewater Agency. “This first segment alone will add 760 acres for industrial development and 1,760 acres for residential development.”
For the first phase of the project, the Agency Board looked for a location that would contribute to job creation, facilitate orderly growth, provide a countywide benefit and create additional funding opportunities. Zwiebel Creek hits all of those targets, according to Steve Jensen of Steven Jensen Consulting, who was hired to evaluate potential locations along with engineering firm HDR.
The Agency also plans to expand an existing sewer treatment plant in Springfield, which will add additional capacity to the sewer system and open more land for industrial development along Highway 50.
The unified sewer system will be built in phases over the next 20 to 50 years, and eventually serve most of the land south of the natural ridgeline that divides the county.
Development in southern Sarpy County is estimated to generate incremental annual revenue of:
$15 million per year in sales tax revenue for Sarpy County cities
$45 million per year in sales tax revenue for the State of Nebraska
$19 million per year in property tax revenue for Sarpy County cities
$21 million per year in property tax revenue for Sarpy County
$76 million per year in property tax revenue for local school districts
Cops and robbers will be filling the streets of La Vista on Oct. 20 — all in the name charity — as the Sarpy County Crime Stoppers 5K Run/Walk returns for a second year.
The family-friendly event kicks off at 10 a.m. at Kros Strain Brewing Company and ends with a post-race party featuring Sarpy County first responders. Participants are encouraged to come in costume, as either a cop or a robber.
The $20 registration fee includes a race bag and retro Crime Stoppers socks. Thanks to our community partners, 100% of the registration fees will go to Sarpy County Crime Stoppers, which supports law enforcement agencies across the county.
Several area businesses and organizations are serving as community partners for the race, including Nebraska Crossing Outlets, Omaha Lancers, Tobacco Education Advocacy of the Midlands, Apple Roofing and Farrell’s eXtreme Body Shaping.
What: 2nd annual Sarpy County Crime Stoppers 5K Run/Walk When: 10-noon, Oct. 20 Where: Kros Strain Brewing, 10411 Portal Road, La Vista Cost: $20 Register:http://bit.ly/2018CrimeStoppers5K
On Aug. 28 the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a budget for Fiscal Year 2019 that keeps the County’s levy flat for the fourth year in a row.
The $164 million budget includes investments in infrastructure projects and other services that are essential to continuing the county’s commercial and residential growth. A new Major Prioritized Road Projects Fund will hold and accumulate money for large-scale road projects prioritized by the County Board, while additional money will be set aside in the Sinking Fund to build a new jail.
“Our staff did an incredible job striking a balance between investing in the future and holding the line for Sarpy County taxpayers,” said Sarpy County Board chair Don Kelly. “Without raising the levy, we’re setting aside money for roads, sewers and a new jail, all of which we’ll need as the county continues to grow.”
The County’s levy will remain at 29.69 cents per $100 of valuation. Sarpy County hasn’t raised the levy since 2002.
“This is a prudent budget and a responsible budget,” Kelly added. “It provides funds for future projects and sets aside a reserve for those things we don’t expect.”
Other highlights from the approved budget:
Funds the dynamic system resiliency and multi-node projects, which will provide greater redundancy and reduce the possibility of outages in Emergency Communications (911).
Creates a Mental Health budget to support the Mental Health Leadership Team, who will be focusing on a holistic approach to mental health issues across the county, including those at the Sarpy County jail.
Sets aside funds for future infrastructure needs near Werner Park, an area that is quickly developing.
We are excited to report that we received more than 35 applications for the Veterans Service Officer position.
After reviewing all of the applications, members of the Veterans Service Committee, along with Sarpy County officials, will interview several finalists. Together, we are dedicated to appointing a Veterans Service Officer that will provide outstanding service to all Sarpy County Veterans and their families.
In May, the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners awarded a bid to install traffic signals at the intersection of 192nd Street and Highway 370. The County’s goal was to have the signals installed before the start of the Gretna Public Schools’ school year.
We did not meet that goal.
An ordering issue has pushed the project’s completion date back several weeks, so we have shifted our efforts to installing temporary signals, and will work to get those in place as soon as possible. The County Engineer's Office is responsible for installation of the temporary and permanent traffic signals.
The safety of all drivers along Highway 370 remains a priority for the Sarpy County Board, and the Board is working to implement procedures to prevent delays on future road projects.
If you have questions or concerns about current or future Sarpy County road projects, contact Sarpy County Engineer Dennis Wilson at 402-537-6900.
On Aug. 10, the first three phases (Phases 1A-1C) of the Harrison Street Project will reopen.
Harrison Street will reopen from 156th Street to just east of 154th Street, and 156th Street will reopen from Gertrude to Adams streets.
The intersection of Harrison and 156th will have temporary stops signs until the traffic signals are completed.
Work on Phase 1D of the project also will begin on Aug. 10. At that time, Harrison Street will close from 156th Street to 161st Avenue for the removal of old pavement, grading, storm sewer work and paving the new roadway. This closure does include the entire intersection of Harrison and 157th streets.
The closure for Phase 1D will last until early October, depending on weather.
Please use caution in this area and use the marked detour.
Sarpy County is collecting school supplies for children in need across county. Sarpy County CASA, Human Services and the Juvenile Justice Center will distribute the supplies to children and families they serve.
The Sarpy County Board of Commissioners has approved an expanded tuition assistance program for County employees and their families.
The new program, offered in partnership with Bellevue University, features tuition reimbursement of up to $5,250 for County employees and $2,500 for employees’ immediate family members. The program is available to full-time, degree-seeking students at Bellevue University. There is no cost to the County or taxpayers for the program.
“By partnering with Bellevue University, we’re able to give our employees and their families the ability to pursue new skills and further their education,” said Sarpy County Board Chairman Don Kelly. “Our goal is to recruit and retain high performing employees, and this program fits perfectly with that effort.”
The Sarpy County Board of Commissioners approved the three-year partnership program at its meeting on July 17.
Also at the meeting, Commissioners:
Approved a resolution to partner with the City of Omaha and Douglas County on improvements to the intersection at 180th and Harrison streets. The project will cost $308,870.75, with Sarpy County paying 50% and Douglas and Omaha each paying 25%.
Approved a Memorandum of Understanding with OPPD, Douglas County, Washington County and Pottawattamie County, Iowa, signaling Sarpy’s intent to work collaboratively with the Omaha Regional Interoperable Network (ORION), a public safety radio network.
Traffic signals connected with cameras and fiber optic cables will improve traffic flow, cut drive times and increase safety, making Highway 370 in Sarpy County the smartest roadway in Nebraska.
The new technology is part of $600 million the state will spend on road projects in 2019.
“Gov. Ricketts along with state and local leaders have made funding for infrastructure a priority, and we’re putting every dollar to work in the most efficient and effective way possible to build a safe and modern transportation system,” Nebraska Department of Transportation Director Kyle Schneweis said July 5 at a press conference to announce the projects.
Improving safety on Highway 370 has been a priority for the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners, who earlier this year asked the state to defer decisions on traffic signals on the highway to Sarpy County officials in an effort to cut the time required to install a light. Commissioners also met with NDOT officials to push for more investment in Sarpy County roads.
The County currently is partnering with the state and other entities to install lights at three intersections on Highway 370, at 192nd, 150th and 66th streets.
It’s almost the Fourth of July, and fireworks festivities are in full swing across Sarpy County. And so are the complaints. So Sarpy County Emergency Communications wants to offer a few reminders about when you should call 911 and when you should use the non-emergency number.
When to call 911
When someone is hurt. When someone is in immediate danger. When something is on fire. When the emergency situation is happening now.
When to call 402-593-4111
Use the non-emergency number for anything that is not an emergency. These include noise complaints, reports of past incidents, reporting someone using fireworks outside of approved hours.
Calling 911 for non-emergency reasons could delay an emergency call from getting through, so please know which number to use.
If you are calling 911 with an emergency, be prepared to answer these questions:
What is your current location?
What is your phone number
What is happening?
When are fireworks permitted in the cities?
Bellevue – 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. from June 25 to July 3; and 8 a.m. to midnight on July 4.
Gretna – 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. from June 25 to July 3 and July 5; and 8 a.m. to midnight on July 4
La Vista –7 a.m. to 10 p.m. from June 25 to July 2; and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on July 3-4
Papillion – 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. from June 25 to July 3; and 8 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on July 4.
Springfield – 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. from June 25 to July 3 and July 5; and 8 a.m. to midnight on July 4
On Wednesday, May 30th, approximately 60,000 Notices of Valuation Change will be mailed to property owners in Sarpy County. The Notice will indicate your 2017 and 2018 assessed value for your property.
Do you have concerns with your property value?
The county assessor would like to talk with you! Please visit the Sarpy County Assessor’s Web Page and contact us by e-mail, telephone, or personal visit to our office.
Sarpy County is the fastest growing county in the state, attracting new residential, commercial and industrial developments. But that expansion doesn’t come without growing pains, according to Sarpy County Board Chair Don Kelly.
During a presentation at the Sarpy County Chamber of Commerce’s annual State of the County event on Tuesday, Kelly specifically cited growth as a driving factor behind the County’s need for a new jail and mental health facility.
“Sarpy County is at a precipice. And it’s going to take bold actions moving forward to keep up with our growth,” he said.
Sarpy County opened the current 148-bed jail facility in 1989, when the county’s population was just over 100,000 residents. It was designed to meet the County’s needs through 2020. However, the jail reached capacity in the mid-1990s, and the County began paying to house inmates at other facilities.
When voters rejected a $15.5 million bond issue to add 160 beds to the jail in 2002, the County implemented several Alternative to Incarceration Programs, including pre-trial release, work release, house arrest and diversion services, to keep non-violent offenders out of jail.
In 2017, Sarpy County’s population topped 180,000 residents, and the jail held between 150 and 200 inmates a day, in addition to the 40 to 60 housed at other facilities. Another 250 to 300 people participate in the alternative programs.
Over the past 10 years, Sarpy County has spent almost $5 million to house inmates at other facilities, some as far away as Buffalo and Richardson counties, in addition to $1 million in transportation costs. The County’s boarding costs are expected to reach $2.9 a year by 2025, which is unsustainable, Kelly said.
In his presentation, Kelly laid out the County’s path forward. The next steps include identifying and purchasing land for the new facility; engaging an architectural firm to begin initial design; determining building and operational costs; and continuing transition to a civilian run Corrections Department.
The County has already begun the search for a site for the new jail. County staff is working with DLR Architects and HDR Engineering to evaluate potential sites. That team is looking for a site that provides the least impact possible to neighboring properties; does not inhibit future economic development opportunities; is centrally located and easily accessible for all law enforcement agencies in the county; is large enough to be appropriately buffered; and is large enough to support future County facilities.
With the help of Lift Up Sarpy County, several Sarpy County programs and the residents they serve will benefit from Omaha Gives! on May 23.
The 24-hour online giving event will celebrate nonprofit organizations from across the Omaha metro. This is the first year Lift Up Sarpy has taken part in the fundraiser.
Lift Up Sarpy County works to uplift people's lives by bringing together government, nonprofit and faith-based organizations to serve people in need. The organization supports several county programs, including CASA, Mental Health Diversion, Victim Witness Unit, Public Defender's Office, Teen Court and the Sheriff's Office.
Omaha Gives! is an online giving platform organized by the Omaha Community Foundation to support philanthropy in the metro area. They host an 24-hour online giving event every May for nonprofit organizations. The event raised more than $7.8 million last year.
A lengthy construction project at the intersection of 132nd Street and Giles Road is frustrating area residents, business owners and the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners.
Tab Construction, who submitted the lowest bid for the project, closed the road on July 17, 2017. The contract specified the grading, pipe placement and paving should be completed in 75 working days. Holidays, weekends and days when the weather was not conducive to construction work are excluded from the count.
“This 75 working day project is about to cross 300 actual days,” said Sarpy County Board Vice Chair Jim Warren. “We’ve gotten a number of complaints that this seems to be a never ending project. It’s understandably upsetting for the people who live and work in the area.”
Weather and utility issues did prevent work for a number of days. However, the project crossed the 75 working day mark in early December, as calculated by the State, County and County Construction Administrator. As the contract specified, liquidated damages of $3,117 are being assessed for every working day beyond that date. As of May 5, those damages are $105,978.
Three legs of the intersection reopened on Dec. 15, however, Giles Road to the west of 132nd Street remains closed.
“This project is months behind, and I would expect to see some urgency from the contractor to get it done. But I haven’t seen any urgency from Tab. I would find it extremely difficult to approve any future contract with Tab Construction, and the other commissioners feel the same way,” Warren said.
The County Board of Commissioners must approve all bids over $20,000. The Board can consider a company’s previous performance, reputation and efficiency when awarding a bid, according state statute.
Sarpy County is responsible for 20% of the $1.95 million project, approximately $389,000. The Federal Highway Administration is paying the remaining portion.
Sarpy County is proud to announce that it is hosting Remembering Our Fallen, a photographic war memorial designed to keep fallen service members’ memories alive.
The traveling exhibit honors military members from Nebraska who have died since Sept. 11, 2001. It features both military and personal photos, giving visitors a broader look into the lives of each person.
Omaha residents Bill and Evonne Williams created the project in 2010 with photos of fallen service members from Nebraska. Through their nonprofit organization, Patriotic Productions, they expanded the project by creating state-specific memorials for display in other states. A national display was unveiled in 2017 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
In addition to their work with Remembering Our Fallen, the Williamses have organized 11 honor flights to take Nebraska veterans to visit the war memorials in Washington.
Remembering Our Fallen will be on display at the Sarpy County Courthouse through May 10. It is located on the second floor of the administration wing near the Sarpy County Boardroom. It is free and open to the public.
To learn more about the project, to volunteer to host the exhibit, or to add a family member to the display, visit patrioticproductions.org/rememberingourfallen.
The Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles has moved its driver license office in Sarpy County.
The license office in the Sarpy County Courthouse closed April 25. The new Driver License Service Center at 4502 Maass Road in Bellevue opened April 30.
Motor vehicle titles, registration and plates will still be handled by the Sarpy County Treasurer’s Office in the Sarpy County Courthouse, 1210 Golden Gate Drive in Papillion. Vehicle inspections also will be performed at the Courthouse.
If you have questions about vehicle titles, registration or plates, contact the Sarpy County Treasurer's Office at 402-593-2148 or www.Sarpy.com/Treasurer.
If you have questions about driver’s licenses or the new location, contact the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles at 402-292-0141 or dmv.nebraska.gov.
The Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office, The Sarpy County Attorney’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Agency along with community sponsors will hold their annual Spring Medicine Drop on April 28.
Please bring any expired or unused medication to the Shadow Lake HyVee parking lot (Highway 370 and 72nd Street) between 9 a.m. and noon. No needles, syringes, aerosol containers or liquids will be accepted.
Please help us in our ongoing effort to rid homes in our community of unnecessary, unused and expired medications. Do your part to ensure these medications do not end up in the wrong hands or in our water system. Everything collected is incinerated, including the container, so no personal information is compromised.
Drive up, drop off, drive away. No questions asked.
If you have any questions, please call: Dean Loftus with Sarpy County Mental Health Diversion at 402-537-7078
Sarpy County is participating in a Community Preparedness Study. It is intended to get a better idea of your concerns and preparedness activities related to natural disasters and community emergencies.
All Sarpy County residents are invited to participate. The survey only takes about 5 minutes, and after you finish, you can enter a drawing to win a free NOAA weather radio.
Your responses to this survey are confidential – no information is collected that will connect you to your survey response.
The University of Nebraska Public Policy Center will combine the responses and present its findings to the Sarpy County Emergency Management Agency.
Sarpy County recently received the Daniel Burnham Award for Outstanding Comprehensive Plan from the Nebraska Chapter of the American Planning Association. The annual award honors plans based on originality and innovation, engagement, implementation, effectiveness and the role of planners.
Sarpy County Planning Director and Nebraska APA President Bruce Fountain presented the award to the County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.
“The Comprehensive Plan is our road map for the future, and you’re never going to get to your destination without a map,” Sarpy County Board Chairman Don Kelly said. “As we continue to grow as a county, we’ll be using this plan as our guide”
The Board adopted the plan, titled “Potential Meets Opportunity,” in September 2017. It incorporates the growth plans for the five municipalities and establishes a unified vision for the build-out of Sarpy County, the fastest growing county in the state. The plan creates the tools and policies to manage this growth into the future.
JEO Consulting Group nominated Sarpy County’s Comprehensive Plan for the award, saying the plan “advances the science and art of planning” and balances “future development and the need to protect the unique environmental and agricultural resources found in the diverse county.”
County Commissioner Jim Warren commended Fountain and the Sarpy County Planning Department for their work.
“Most people don’t understand how much work goes into a Comprehensive Plan, but it’s hundreds of hours. I appreciate all of the time and effort Bruce and the entire Planning Department put into this, and I especially applaud the way they included the public in the process,” Warren said.
The award nominees were judged by members of the Iowa Chapter of the American Planning Association.
Are you looking for a way to serve your fellow Veterans? Consider a term on the Sarpy County Veterans Service Committee.
The five-member committee supports the Sarpy County Veterans Service Office by promoting the office's work and activities, encouraging Veterans and organizations to take part in community activities, and assisting the office with providing services to Veterans and their families.
Veterans Committee members are appointed by the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners to serve a five-year term. Nominees must be recommended by a Veterans Service Organization by June 1, 2018.
If you would like to be considered, contact your Veterans Service Organization's Post Commander.
To be eligible to serve, committee members must have received an Honorable Discharge or General Discharge under Honorable Conditions and provide a copy of their Form DD214 or other service separation documentation verifying active service in one of the United States Arms Services. Committee members must reside within Sarpy County during their appointed term.
All Veterans Service Organizations in Sarpy County are asked to recommend eligible Veterans from their Post/Organization willing to serve on the committee.
The committee currently meets twice a year. Members review and recommend annual budget requests for the Office and County Veterans Aid fund; oversee expenditures; support fund audits; participate in the selection of Veterans Service Office employees; support professional certification and continuing education training for employees; review office operations, work load, information security and budget expenditures; and serve on appointed committees at the request of the Committee Chairman.
To learn more about the Veterans Service Office and the Veterans Committee, visit www.Sarpy.com/Veterans or call 402-593-2203 or 402-593-2204.
Spring is a busy time of year for road construction, and with several projects underway across the county, we want to make sure you know where to get information.
Nebraska Statute 23-1901 requires counties with a population above 150,000 have an elected County Engineer who is responsible for the following duties:
(a) Prepare all plans, specifications, and detail drawings for the use of the county in advertising and letting all contracts for the building and repair of bridges, culverts, and all public improvements upon the roads;
(b) Make estimates of the cost of all such contemplated public improvements, make estimates of all material required for such public improvements, inspect the material and have the same measured and ascertained, and report to the county board whether the same is in accordance with its requirements;
(c) Superintend the construction of all such public improvements and inspect and require that the same shall be done according to contract;
(d) Make estimates of the cost of all labor and material which shall be necessary for the construction of all bridges and improvements upon public highways, inspect all of the work and materials placed in any such public improvements, and make a report in writing to the county board with a statement in regard to whether the same comply with the plans, specifications, and detail drawings of the county board prepared for such work or improvements and under which the contract was let; and
(e) Have charge and general supervision of work or improvements authorized by the county board, inspect all materials, direct the work, and make a report of each piece of work to the county board.
If you have questions about road closures or any current or future road projects, contact Sarpy County Engineer Dennis Wilson at 402-537-6900.
On Monday, Sarpy County CASA received Bellevue's Community Development Block Grant Achievement Award for 2018 at a ceremony in Lincoln to honor Community Development Week in Nebraska.
Sarpy County CASA Director Paula Creps accepted the award from Mayor Sanders and Governor Pete Ricketts.
Sarpy County CASA uses block grant funds from Bellevue to operate the Bellevue Family Visitation Center, a training space and family visitation space in Old Towne Bellevue. The Center offers a neutral atmosphere that is family-friendly, safe and comfortable for children spending time with their parents or siblings during what can often be a very difficult and unhappy time.
In 2017, Sarpy County CASA advocated for 273 children with 121 CASA volunteers. The volunteers are appointed by judges to speak in court for the best interest of abused and neglected children. Volunteers make placement recommendations after researching the child’s background. The CASA serves as a stable force in the child’s life during difficult times.
To learn more about CASA and the Bellevue Family Visitation Center, visit SarpyCASA.com.
The Sarpy County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution to ask the state for the ability to decide where and when traffic signals should be placed on Highway 370.
Sarpy County is the fastest growing county in Nebraska, despite being the smallest county geographically. The latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau put Sarpy County’s population at more than 181,000, a 14.2% increase since 2010. That concentrated growth in residential, commercial and industrial development has created several traffic safety issues on Highway 370.
“This isn’t a control issue, this is a public safety issue,” said Sarpy County Commissioner Jim Warren. “Highway 370 is built to be a signalized road, but the signals aren’t there. With our size and at the rate Sarpy County is growing, we can’t afford to wait one or two years for a light to be installed.”
The Nebraska Department of Transportation is responsible for the state highways system, including the installation of traffic signals. The Board will ask the State of Nebraska to enter into an interlocal agreement that defers those decisions on Highway 370 to the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners.
“We aren’t pointing a finger at the Nebraska Department of Transportation … they’ve been very engaged in these discussions. But this board is willing to lean as far forward as we can to improve public safety. And that may eventually lead to them ceding the whole highway to us. I’d be in favor of that. It would allow the State to focus on Platteview Road, which could be a true southern bypass. That would benefit the entire metro area,” said Sarpy County Board Chair Don Kelly.
Around 30,000 voters in Sarpy County have received notice that their voting place will change ahead of the May 15 primary election. Working with local businesses and faith-based organizations over the past several months, Sarpy County Election Commissioner Michelle Andahl says her office has relocated all polling sites out of kindergarten through 12th grade schools.
“School districts in Sarpy County have always been accommodating and gracious about hosting polling sites inside of schools,” said Andahl. “However, it also posed challenges for schools and law enforcement as they worked to balance security protocols with providing public access without impediment on Election Day.”
Andahl said she started connecting with community members and voters soon after entering office, to identify ways in which the election office could better serve Sarpy County citizens. One common theme that arose in those discussions was that of moving polling sites out of schools.
“The partnerships we forged during this process were critical to completing this goal. Through generous commitments by many organizations, those polling sites have now been moved to churches, hospitals, community centers and retail developments.”
Andahl added, “It is a huge challenge for county election officials to identify polling places that meet all requirements for accommodating voters on Election Day. Schools are often the only viable option. It will take ongoing community cooperation to keep polling sites out of Sarpy County schools going in the future.”
Yellow postcards have been mailed to affected voters, letting them know the address of their new polling site. In addition, they will soon receive an application, which they can complete, to receive an early ballot by mail.
“I want to thank the voters of Sarpy County. I know that change is not always easy and a new location may not be as convenient to voters, when compared to their previous one. However, moving polling places out of K-12 schools was an important task, not just for my office, but also for those who felt this was a positive step for the community.”
Get ready for a night of fun and fundraising at Sarpy County CASA’s second annual CASA UnCorked.
The evening will feature wine and beer tastings, heavy appetizers, a wine pull, live music and live and silent auctions. All proceeds from the event will go toward CASA’s “Let Kids Be Kids Fund,” which assists with purchasing sporting equipment and team fees, prom attire, senior pictures, driver’s education classes, summer camps and more. These activities provide children in the CASA program with a sense of normalcy in their otherwise chaotic lives.
The April 27 event will be from 5:30-10 p.m. at SAC Federal Credit Union, 72nd and Highway 370.
Tickets are $40 if purchased before April 1, $50 from April 1-26, and $60 the day of the event. Tickets for the wine pull are $20 and can be purchased online or at the event. Click here to purchase tickets online.
Sponsors for the CASA UnCorked include PenFed Credit Union, Shadow Lake HyVee, Midlands Community Foundation, Offutt Spouses Club, Metro Community College, John and Terri Connell, Black Hills Energy Ambassadors, Pinnacle Bank-Gretna, FBG Services, Shrinking Borders LLC, Dr. Gaspard and Dr. Rudersdorf of Family Dentistry of Bellevue, and Carole Hobson.
If you have questions about the event or would like to donate, contact Sarpy County CASA at 402-593-2259 or email@example.com.
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) volunteers are appointed by judges to speak in court for the best interest of abused and neglected children. Volunteers make placement recommendations after researching the child’s background. The CASA serves as a stable force in the child’s life during difficult times. In 2017, Sarpy County CASA advocated for 273 children with 121 CASA volunteers. Learn more at SarpyCasa.com.
Activities to promote preparedness during Nebraska Severe Weather Awareness Week (March 25-31) have been scheduled across the state as a way to encourage all Nebraskans to get ready for the hazardous weather conditions that can occur during the spring and summer months in Nebraska.
A proclamation by Gov. Pete Ricketts signed March 5, reminded Nebraskans that community preparedness can minimize the dangers, which the annual severe weather season presents, to the lives and property of Nebraskans.
Many communities will be participating in the annual statewide tornado drill on Wednesday, March 28 at 10 a.m. as part of the week’s activities.
“We want all Nebraskans to take some time during Severe Weather Awareness Week to prepare for spring and summer severe weather,” said NEMA Assistant Director Bryan Tuma. “The devastating impacts of extreme events can be reduced through improved readiness. Make a safety plan, create a preparedness kit and review proper safety precautions. It’s just a good practice for those of us who live in areas affected by tornadoes, floods and severe thunderstorms.”
Resources for staying prepared are available on the NEMA Website at nema.nebraska.gov. Scroll to the bottom of the front page and select the hazard you want to learn about including: floods, thunderstorms/tornadoes and fire/drought . You can also download preparedness resources including a preparedness kit list and a family preparedness guide.
“We want to encourage everyone to listen carefully to instructions from local officials and take the recommended protective measures to safeguard life and property when a disaster or severe weather event occurs,” Tuma said. “Stay informed about approaching severe weather. Monitor weather radios, phone apps, local news outlets and the National Weather Service. Also, make sure you have a preparedness kit that includes items like a battery-powered radio, flashlight, food, water and medicine -- enough for everyone, including pets, for at least three days.”
The Wednesday drill offers a time for residents, businesses and industries to test their severe weather emergency preparedness plans. The morning drill will begin around 10 a.m., with the issuance of a mock tornado warning and activation of outdoor warning sirens about 10 to 15 minutes later. If severe weather is possible that day, the drill may be postponed or canceled.
Sarpy County has planned a variety of activities for Severe Weather Awareness Week, including:
March 20: the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners will proclaim the week beginning March 25 as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Sarpy County. Sarpy EMA will also participate in FEMA Region 7’s microburst on Twitter at 10 a.m. and will continue to promote severe weather awareness on Twitter and NextDoor throughout the entire week.
March 26: will set up two exhibits that display the poster contest entries received by the County as well as other severe weather preparedness information and materials. The first exhibit will be in the atrium of the Sarpy County Administration Building. The second exhibit will be near the entry of the Sarpy County Courthouse. They will remain there all week.
March 28: will participate in the statewide tornado drill by sounding our outdoor warning sirens upon issuance of the mock warning (around 10:15 a.m.)
March 29: will host severe storm spotter training provided by the National Weather Service at the Bellevue Fire Training Center at 7:00 p.m. All weather enthusiasts are welcome to attend.
March 31: conducting a storm spotter deployment drill at 8:00 a.m. (SCEMA credentialed volunteers only).
Contact: Jesse Eret, program specialist, Sarpy County Emergency Management Agency firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sarpy County Public Works will resume road repairs to 168th Street from Gertrude to Harrison streets on March 26.
Because of the nature of the repairs, 168th Street will be closed to through traffic from Harrison Street to Giles Road. 168th Street from Gertrude to Harrison streets will be closed to all traffic. The closure is expected to last 12 working days, depending on weather. A working day is a day when the temperature is above 40 degrees and rising and is suitable for the construction of this project. It does not include Sundays and holidays.
Sarpy County Public Works had to suspend work on this project late last year due to unfavorable weather conditions for asphalt construction.
We are asking the traveling public to be aware of the closure and to find alternate routes of travel. Local traffic will be allowed to access all properties throughout construction.
If you have questions, contact Sarpy County Construction Manager Brian Becker at 402-537-6929.
The Omaha Storm Chasers are set to being their 50th season, one filled with flashbacks to honor the team's history and it's long association with the Kansas City Royals.
The team will kick off the season at Werner Park on March 26 with an exhibition against the Royals. Opening day is April 5, when the Storm Chasers will take on the Colorado Springs Sky Sox at 6:35 p.m. Season highlights will include flashback games honoring past seasons, a "Star Wars" night and fireworks on Fridays.
On June 9, the team will take the field as the Omaha Runzas, wearing specialty uniforms that honor Nebraska's famous food. the opponent: The Albuquerque Green Chile Cheeseburgers.
The Storm Chasers moved to Werner Park, which is owned and maintained by Sarpy County, in 2011. In that time, more than 2.7 million fans have enjoyed games in the stadium. They expect to cross the 3 million mark this season.
For a schedule of events at Werner Park or to purchase Storm Chasers tickets, visit OmahaStormChasers.com.
The public is invited to attend a construction kick-off meeting and open house for the Harrison Street Project from 6-7:30 p.m. on March 22.
The meeting will be at Andersen Middle School, 15404 Adams St. The main parking lot is on the north side of the school. Additional parking may be available on the south side of the school and on Adams Street.
The meeting will include a brief presentation at 6:15 p.m. to share project information and a projected timeline. An open house will follow until 7:30 p.m.
Sarpy County partnered with the City of Omaha and Douglas County to transform a mile-long stretch of Harrison Street from 147th to 157th Street. The current two-lane road will be upgraded to a four-lane arterial street with turn lanes and medians. The project will improve safety and travel times in the area.
Preliminary work on the project began in November, with tree removal and the addition of a noise-reduction wall.
The project is estimated to be completed in late 2019.
In October 2017, the Nebraska Lodge #3 of the Fraternal Order of Police partnered with the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office to participate in the Pink Patch Project, a national fundraiser for cancer charities.
FOP members sold specially designed pink patches and t-shirts for the project, which raised $3,500 for Leap-For-A-Cure.
The Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office chose Omaha-based Leap-For-A-Cure as their charity in honor of three Sarpy County Deputies lost to cancer between 2011-2013: Ryan Fawcett, Rick Staack and Dave McAnulty. Both Fawcett and Staack passed away due to brain cancer.
Leap-For-A-Cure was especially meaningful to Dep. Fawcett, who served as a mentor to Heather Roberts. Roberts’ parents founded Leap-For-A-Cure in her honor. The organization partners with the Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center and the Methodist Hospital Foundation, and 100 percent of the funds raised stay in the Omaha area for awareness, education and treatment of brain cancer.
On March 6, officers from Lodge #3, along with Sheriff Jeff Davis and Chief Deputy Greg London, presented patches and a check for $3,500 to Leap-For-A-Cure founders Sue and Jon Roberts and Methodist Hospital Foundation representatives RyAnne Elsesser and Kristi Anthis.
The Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office was the first Sheriff’s Office and the second agency in the state to participate in the Pink Patch Project, which began in 2015 at the Irwindale Police Department in California. For the project, Law Enforcement and Public Safety agencies design special patches, often mimicking their department patches with all pink tones, and sell and wear them in the month of October. The Pink Patch Project went nationwide in 2017, with over 130 agencies participating.
FOP Lodge #3 thanks Sheriff Davis and the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office for allowing them to participate in the project as a way to honor the memories and actions of local deputies.
On March 3, the outdoor warning sirens in Sarpy County will sound twice as part of a test to ensure all sirens are operational prior to the upcoming severe weather season.
The Sarpy County Emergency Management Agency will coordinate the two tests with Sarpy County Emergency Communications, with sirens sounding at 10 and 10:30 a.m. During each test, the sirens will sound for three minutes, which is the same criteria for warnings for tornados and high wind events.
Public Safety agencies including Sarpy County Emergency Management, area fire departments and law enforcement, as well as volunteers from CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) and Sarpy County SKYWARN, will document the operational status of each siren.
Beginning in April, siren tests are scheduled for 10 a.m. on the first Saturday of each month through October. During the monthly tests, if a resident lives near a siren and does not hear it, they should contact the Sarpy County Emergency Management office at 402-593-5785.
As the siren tests resume for the year, it is a great opportunity for families and businesses to review their severe weather emergency plans. Severe Weather Awareness Week, March 26-30, is a good time to practice these plans.
The 911 system that we know today started on Feb. 16, 1968, when Rankin Fite, speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives, placed the first 911 call in Haleyville, Alabama. Congressman Tom Bevill answered the call on red phone in Haleyville’s police station.
911 operations slowly spread across the county in the next 20 years. By 1987, half of U.S. residents had access to the system. That number jumped to 98.9% by December 2017, according to the National Emergency Number Association.
In that time, technology advanced well beyond the original red phone. Enhanced 911 provided dispatchers a caller’s name, address and telephone number. Sarpy County became the first agency in Nebraska to receive Enhanced 911 in June 1987.
In 1995, the Sarpy County Sheriff's Communications Division merged with the Bellevue Police Department's Dispatch Center, creating Sarpy County Consolidated Communications, a single entity that could receive and dispatch all law enforcement, fire department and EMS calls.
In 2000, Sarpy County’s Consolidated Communications Center began using a Computer Aided Dispatch system designed by Printrak International, a Motorola Company. Douglas and Washington counties also use this system, which allows for better communication between emergency agencies in the region.
Sarpy County added Text-to-911 in 2017, allowing people to send emergency text messages to the Communications Center. The National Emergency Number Association estimates that 240 million 911 calls are made every year in the United States, 80% of which are made on cellphones.
The Sarpy County Board of Commissioners has hired William J. Muldoon to lead the county’s Emergency Communications Department.
In the role, Muldoon will oversee Sarpy County’s Emergency Communications Center, which handles all 911 and public safety calls within the county. One of his primary tasks will be to continue efforts to increase coordination among public safety agencies throughout the region.
“We are excited to welcome Bill to our management team,” said Director of Administrative Services Stu DeLaCastro, whose duties include oversight of the emergency services departments. “Throughout the selection process, it was clear that he not only brings the professionalism, energy and expertise necessary to effectively lead the Emergency Communications/911 staff, but also the collaborative spirit needed to provide exemplary service to our public safety partners.”
Muldoon joins Sarpy County with 40 years of experience in public safety, most recently as the Director of the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center for the past 12 years. He was Chief of Police in Nebraska City for three years and served for 25 years in the Omaha Police Department.
Muldoon, who received a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Bellevue University, has held leadership roles in the Metropolitan Police Chief’s Association, the Police Chief’s Association of Nebraska, and the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (IADLEST). He received the Distinguished Service Award from the University of Nebraska Omaha in 2015 and the Leadership Award for Strategic Planning from IADLEST in 2011.
“This is a great opportunity to join a rapidly growing county,” Muldoon said. “With all of the changes in technology and NextGen 911, there are a lot of exciting challenges ahead.”
He is tentatively scheduled to begin his new role on March 5.
At the annual Sarpy County Economic Development Corporation meeting and awards ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 1, Sarpy County received the 2018 Partner in Economic Development award.
The award honors groups or organizations whose contributions pave the way for economic growth. Sarpy County received the award for leading efforts to form the Sarpy County and Sarpy Cities Wastewater Agency.
The agency’s purpose is to build a sanitary sewer system to serve the southern portion of Sarpy County, opening the area to further development.
“The Sarpy County Board of Commissioners and everyone involved in this agency are committed to a bright and prosperous future for Sarpy County,” said Sarpy County Board Chairman Don Kelly, who accepted the award on behalf of the County. “We will continue to partner with the development community as well as public and private organizations to build the infrastructure needed to support growth.”
Sarpy County shared the award with the five Sarpy cities: Bellevue, Gretna, La Vista, Papillion and Springfield.
As a joint effort between the county and the cities, the wastewater agency is a unique approach to building a utility. It will be governed by a 6-member board composed of the chair of the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners and mayors of the five cities.
"The Sarpy County Economic Development Corporation wanted to recognize the collaboration and teamwork the county and each of the cities within Sarpy showed when they came together to form the sewer agency," said Andrew Rainbolt, Executive Director of the Sarpy County Economic Development Corporation. "The lack of wastewater infrastructure in south and western Sarpy County is a limiting factor to growth, and although forming the agency is just the first step, it’s a big one."
Development in southern Sarpy County is estimated to generate incremental annual revenue of:
* $15 million per year in sales tax revenue for Sarpy County cities
* $45 million per year in sales tax revenue for the State of Nebraska
* $19 million per year in property tax revenue for Sarpy County cities
* $21 million per year in property tax revenue for Sarpy County
* $76 million per year in property tax revenue for local school districts
On Tuesday, Jan. 23, the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners approved a bid to repair erosion damage on Pflug Road from 228th Street to 230th Street.
The road serves as the primary access road to the Holy Family Shrine, one of Sarpy County's most visited tourist attractions. The road also serves residences and agricultural interests in the area.
'I'm excited to see the repair work begin on Pflug Road. The closure has been an inconvenience to residents and the Holy Family Shrine," Sarpy County Commissioner Jim Warren said. "We received a good bid and look forward to construction beginning."
In the spring of 2017, the Sarpy County Public Works Department was moving forward with plans to repair existing erosion damage on Pflug Road when heavy rains in April and May caused massive amounts of dirt to slough off, opening large cracks in the roadway. The damage left the road unsafe for vehicles, forcing Public Works to close Pflug Road from Fishery Road to 228th Street. The new damage required a different, more extensive repair plan.
Because of streams in the area, repair plans had to be reviewed and verified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Sarpy County received verification from the Corps in November and began the bidding process.
High Plains Enterprises was awarded the bid in the amount of $438,262.44.
The repairs are expected to take 30 working days, which are defined as day when the temperature is above 40 degrees and rising and which are suitable for the construction of this project. It does not include Sundays and holidays.
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has re-appointed Michelle Andahl to a four-year term as the Sarpy County Election Commissioner. Her term began Jan. 1, 2018, and runs through Dec. 31, 2021.
Andahl was first appointed Election Commissioner in October 2017 to complete the term of Wayne Bena, who left the post to take a position with the Nebraska Secretary of State’s Office. By law, the Governor appoints the election commissioners for Douglas, Sarpy and Lancaster counties.
Prior to her appointment, Andahl worked for more than 20 years as an independent marketing and fundraising consultant for various nonprofit and political campaigns. She also served as a legislative aide in the Nebraska Legislature for three years.
Andahl re-appointed Deb Davis to serve as the Chief Deputy Election Commissioner, a role she has held for 8 years. Davis previously worked in the Sarpy community as a banker.
On Friday, Jan. 12, Andahl will be sworn in as the Sarpy County Election Commissioner and Deb Davis will be sworn as the Chief Deputy.
The swearing-in ceremony will be in the Sarpy County Boardroom at 3 p.m. Judge Stefanie Martinez will administer the Oaths of Office.
Calling their jobs “a public service,” the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday voted to keep their salaries the same.
The vote set the Commissioners’ salaries at $26,095 for 2019-2020. The Board Chair will continue to receive an additional $1,000.
“When you look at the total compensation package, which includes benefits, we are very well compensated at our current salary,” Chairman Don Kelly said. “Other counties are raising salaries, but we’re proud not to follow their lead.”
Commissioners chose to forego raising their own salaries despite a recommendation from the Sarpy County Elected Officials Salary Review Committee that included a 15.01% increase in base salary.
The Board created the committee to review the salaries of all Sarpy County elected officials, to compare those salaries with similarly situated counties across the Midwest, and to make recommendations for appropriate salaries given the offices’ duties and the employment market in the area while keeping in mind the best-interest of Sarpy County taxpayers.
The Committee met four times and presented their final recommendations to Commissioners.
The Board on Tuesday also set the salaries for the seven other elected county officials for the next four years, again starting in 2019.
Commissioners approved a 3% increase in base salary for 2019 with the addition of a 1% increase for the final three years of the term for the County Assessor, Clerk of the District Court, County Engineer, County Treasurer, Sheriff and County Attorney. The salary committee had recommended a 3.22% increase for each of those offices.
The salary committee also recommended a 3.22% increase for the County Clerk. However, Commissioners felt the additional responsibilities that will be added when the Clerk’s Office assumes the duties of the Register of Deeds warranted an additional increase in base salary to $110,890 for 2019. The Clerk also will receive a 1% increase for the final three years of the term.
Approved Elected Officials Salaries for 2019:
County Assessor: $101,346
County Attorney: $158,386
County Clerk: $110,890
Clerk of the District Court: $97,100
County Engineer: $120,978
County Treasurer: $100,285
County Commissioner: $26,095
Chair of the Board Commissioners: $27,095
When making their final recommendations, the salary committee used salary data from Lancaster County, Nebraska; Greene County, Missouri; Johnson County, Iowa; Linn County, Iowa; and Minnehaha County, South Dakota.
The committee was composed of six members of the public appointed by the board, two elected officials and three members of the Sarpy County Administration.
Appointed members included Angie Lauritsen, Jonathan Davidson, Michael George, Rich Severson, Rita Ramirez and Robert Anthony Sr. Sheriff Jeff Davis and County Commissioner Jim Thompson represented the elected officials as ex-officio members of the committee.
Paula Creps, director of the Sarpy County CASA Program, will become a member of the Nebraska CASA Association’s Board of Directors.
Creps was elected to the board recently after being nominated by CASA directors from Cass and Otoe counties. She will serve a three-year term and has the option to serve a second term.
“I am excited to be a part of this board to learn more about CASA on the state and national level, to help create and implement policies and training programs to make our state CASA programs more efficient and purposeful, and to be an active part of the annual Nebraska CASA fundraising event,” Creps said.
Creps has been with CASA in Sarpy County since 2013, when she started as Volunteer Supervisor. She has been in her current role since November 2015.
Creps has 20 years of experience in the social services field, primarily dealing with children and families.
She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Nebraska Omaha.
Sarpy County’s CASA program began in 1986 and was the first CASA program in the state of Nebraska. Other CASA programs followed and by 1995 discussions began about forming a statewide association. In 1998, the Nebraska CASA Association incorporated as a non-profit agency with the purpose of supporting the development and growth of CASA programs.
The 14-member state board of directors includes 10 corporate and community representatives as well as four local CASA directors.
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) volunteers are appointed by judges to speak in court for the best interest of abused and neglected children. Volunteers make placement recommendations after researching the child’s background. The CASA serves as a stable force in the child’s life during difficult times.
To learn more about the Sarpy County CASA Program, to donate or volunteer, visit SarpyCASA.com.
Starting Dec. 1, the Sarpy County Transfer Station will shift to a winter schedule.
The Transfer Station will be open from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 6 a.m. to noon on Saturday; and closed on Sunday. Winter hours will continue through April 1.
During regular hours, the Transfer Station is open from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed on Sundays.
The Transfer Station is open to the public and commercial waste haulers. Accepted items include household trash, roofing materials, air conditioning units, appliances, tires, mattresses and yard waste.
The Transfer Station is located at 14414 S. 156th Street at the Sarpy County landfill.
Storms stretching across several states this summer created devastating floods that swamped an estimated 500,000 vehicles, according to industry experts.
Many of those vehicles will be scrapped, but some will find their way back onto the market. While selling flood-damaged cars isn’t illegal, the damage must be disclosed on the vehicle’s title. Less-than-reputable resellers have been known to leave this information off the title, leaving unsuspecting buyers with an unreliable car.
To help car shoppers in Sarpy County avoid unknowingly purchasing a flood-damaged vehicle, County Treasurer Rich James created a website with information and links to check a vehicle’s history. These searches are based on a vehicle’s VIN. If a vehicle has never had a salvage title, you probably will not find any information. However, if it was branded in one state and not another, it should show up with the original brand.
The Sarpy County Local Emergency Planning Committee will hold its next meeting at 6 p.m. Nov. 8 at Nebraska Medicine Bellevue.
The committee is a gathering of organizations, agencies and citizens who have an interest in hazardous materials safety. As a group, the LEPC is tasked with identifying potential risks from chemicals stored in and/or transported throughout our communities. The LEPC seeks ways to help minimize the risk, prevent accidents, and assist in the development of plans to deal with a chemical emergency.
Education and community outreach is another core component of the LEPC. Through the LEPC, the public will be able to seek out information about chemicals in their communities and learn how to safely shelter in place.
60 racers braved the freezing temperatures on Oct. 28 for the Cops & Robbers 5K Run/Walk.
The event kicked off at 9 a.m. at Werner Park, and participants completed a course that took them around the park, parking lot and nearby neighborhood. The post-race party included visits from Sarpy County first responders, a bounce house and music at Werner Park.
The event raised $5,000 for Sarpy County Crime Stoppers.
The Nebraska Crossing Outlet Mall, Omaha Lancers, Adams & Sullivan Attorneys At Law and Werner Enterprises sponsored the event.
Cyber security has been a major concern for many after recent data breaches exposed millions of people to possible fraud and identity theft.
To help Sarpy County residents protect themselves and their personal information, we are offering resources and information about dealing with and preventing identity theft; identifying and reporting email and phone scams; cyber bullying; laptop security; online security for businesses and much more.
Information packets, flyers and booklets are available for free at the Cyber Security display just inside the entrance to the Sarpy County Administration building.
The display and resources are part of Sarpy County’s Cyber Security Awareness Month efforts, which are organized by the county’s Information Systems department.
Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov has appointed Bonnie Moore to serve as the Chief Deputy Sarpy County Attorney.
Moore’s duties will include overseeing attorneys and staff in the Criminal, Civil, Child Support, Victim Witness and Diversion Divisions. She also will advise Sarpy County’s Board of Commissioners, elected officials and department heads on matters of legal compliance.
“Bonnie brings top-of-the-line legal skills to an important job, but beyond that, her proven record of organization and management abilities make her a perfect fit for Chief Deputy,” Polikov said. “Her leadership is a blend of good decision-making and inspiring others to do the best they can. She works hard and sets very high standards for our office where teamwork is critical to our success.”
Before assuming her new role, Moore served two years in the County Attorney’s Civil Division, then spent two years as the Sarpy County Human Resources Director. She returned to the County Attorney’s Office in January to be the Lead Attorney for the Civil Division.
“I’m looking forward to this new opportunity and continuing to serve the citizens of Sarpy County,” Moore said.
Moore received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska Omaha before attending the Creighton University School of Law. Her husband, Tyler, is a teacher with Papillion La Vista Community Schools.
Gov. Pete Ricketts today appointed Michelle Y. Andahl to be the Sarpy County Election Commissioner.
Andahl recently worked as legislative staffmember for former State Sen. Joni Craighead. She has been independent marketing and fundraising consultant for multiple political campaigns.
Andahl served as the National Federal Legislative Chair for the Nebraska Parent Teacher Association and was a board member of the Joslyn Castle Guild and Sarpy County YMCA. She also has been involved with Child Connect, the Fontenelle Forest Guild and Boy Scouts.
She is completing a degree in Liberal Arts and Business.
By law, the governor appoints the election commissioners for Douglas, Sarpy and Lancaster Counties. She will begin her new role on Oct. 4.
Andahl’s appointment fills the vacancy left after former Election Commissioner Wayne Bena accepted the position of Nebraska Deputy Secretary of State for Elections. Andahl will complete the Bena's four-year term, which ends on Dec. 31.
The Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office is going pink for cancer awareness as part of the Pink Patch Project.
The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, which represents the men and women of the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office, will be selling pink patches for $10 each. All proceeds from the sale will go to Leap-For-A-Cure, an Omaha-based organization dedicated to improving brain cancer awareness, education and treatment. Two Sarpy County deputies, Ryan Fawcett and Rick Staack, died after battles with brain cancer in 2012 and 2013.
The public can support the cause by buying patches from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays at the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office.
Since its inception in 2008, Leap-For-A-Cure has raised more than $850,000, with all money staying in the Omaha area. To learn more about the organization, visit LeapForACure.org.
The Pink Patch Project started in 2015 at the Irwindale Police Department in California as a fundraiser for breast cancer awareness and research. The movement spread quickly, and there are more than 130 agencies participating and supporting various cancer charities. Several local agencies, including Sarpy County 911, are taking part this year.
The Sarpy County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, Sept. 19, approved an interlocal agreement with the cities of Bellevue, Gretna, La Vista, Papillion and Springfield to create the Sarpy County and Sarpy Cities Wastewater Agency.
Once approved by the five cities, the agency will oversee the construction of a wastewater system to serve the southern portion of Sarpy County, where limited sanitary sewer service is currently available.
The lack of a sewer system is an impediment to development in southern Sarpy County as well as in the cities within the county. The agency serves as a regional solution to address that issue.
“This collaborative interlocal agreement creating the Sarpy County and Sarpy Cities Wastewater Agency is an exciting first step. It will open the door to future development and become the engine of future economic growth in Sarpy County and Nebraska.” said Sarpy County Board Chairman Don Kelly. “We now can eagerly work in conjunction with the development community and public and private organizations to develop planning processes necessary for financing and building this much needed wastewater system.”
Development in southern Sarpy County is estimated to generate incremental annual revenue of:
$15 million per year in sales tax revenue for Sarpy County cities
$45 million per year in sales tax revenue for the State of Nebraska
$19 million per year in property tax revenue for Sarpy County cities
$21 million per year in property tax revenue for Sarpy County
$76 million per year in property tax revenue for local school districts
As a joint effort between the county and cities, the agency is a unique approach to building a utility. It will be governed by a 6-member board composed of the chair of the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners and mayors of the five cities. The agency’s budget will need to be approved each year by the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners and the five city councils.
The interlocal agreement also was approved by the city councils in Gretna, La Vista, Papillion and Springfield on Sept. 19. Bellevue will take up the issue on Sept. 25.
OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Nebraska – The 55th Wing has rescheduled an emergency response exercise that was scheduled to begin on the base after 5 p.m. Wednesday. The exercise is now scheduled to begin after 8 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 21.
During the exercise, base personnel and members of the local community may hear loud noises or see emergency response vehicles responding to the exercise area.
This is a routine training exercise designed to test the tactics, techniques and procedures of base emergency responders and personnel.
For more information, call 55th Wing Public Affairs at (402) 294-3663 or email 55WG.PA@us.af.mil.
Sarpy County residents can get rid of their old tires for free on Oct. 21 at the Sarpy County Fairgrounds in Springfield.
Sarpy County will collect scrap tires at the south end of the fairgrounds at 142nd Street and Pflug Road on a first-come, first-served basis from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or until reaching 150 tons of scrap. People will be required to provide a driver’s license or OPPD bill with an address to prove they live in Sarpy County.
There is no limit to the number of tires a person can bring, but when participants check in they will need to report the number of tires they are dropping off and where the tires came from. Rims and tubes won’t be accepted, nor will drop-offs from retailers. Participants have to unload their own tires.
To avoid traffic issues on South 144th Street/Highway 50, participants should not turn onto Pflug Road from South 144th Street/Highway 50. Instead, participants should approach the fairgrounds from the east. If traveling on South 144th Street/Highway 50, turn east onto Main Street, then south onto South 1st Street and finally west onto Pflug Road.
The scrap tire collection is being funded by a grant from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.
Residents with questions about the event should call Sarpy County Environmental Services at 402-253-2371 or visit Sarpy.com.
The Sarpy County Board of Commissioners adopted a new Comprehensive Plan on Sept. 12, 2017.
The plan creates a unified vision for the build-out of Sarpy County and integrates the growth plans for its five municipalities. Over the past several decades, Sarpy County and its communities are among the fastest growing areas in Nebraska. The vision of this plan was to create the tools and policies to manage this growth to promote optimal build-out for the area through the long-term future.
The Comprehensive Plan unifies existing countywide planning efforts under a single umbrella document, while recognizing the important planning initiatives undertaken by Sarpy County agencies and all levels of government and community organizations.
The plan focuses on seven key topics: county facilities, land use and management, utilities and infrastructure, transportation, environmental resources and recreation, economic development and energy.
Moody’s Investors Service upgraded Sarpy County’s bond rating to Aaa, the highest rating offered by the organization. The county previously held an Aa1 rating, the second-highest rating. Both ratings are considered extremely strong.
“This outstanding bond rating is a result of strong growth, a well-thought-out and fully funded pension plan, a thoughtful cash reserve, the investment taking place at Offutt Air Force Base and a strong and healthy financial structure,” said Sarpy County Board Chair Don Kelly.
This is the first time the county has received an Aaa rating, which means Sarpy County will qualify for the lowest possible interest rates, resulting in lower costs for Sarpy County taxpayers. In assigning the rating, Moody’s cited the county’s economic ties to the growing metropolitan area, a low pension burden and stable financial operations with healthy operating reserves.
Board Vice Chair Jim Warren credits the rating to fiscally conservative elected officials and Sarpy County’s administration, specifically Fiscal Administrator Brian Hanson.
“Our rating is a direct result of Brian’s leadership,” Warren said. “He is an incredible asset to Sarpy County, the County Board and all Sarpy County taxpayers. His impact can’t be underestimated.”
Moody’s rates bonds on a scale from Aaa to C, with Aaa bonds being deemed the highest quality with the lowest credit risk.
About Sarpy County
Sarpy County, population 158,840, is just south of the City of Omaha and is home to Bellevue, Gretna, La Vista, Papillion and Springfield. Sarpy County is also home to Offutt Air Force Base.
Reminder, on Wednesday, September 13th, 2017, Sarpy County Public Works along with Western Engineering Company will close 168th Street from Giles Road to Harrison Street thru traffic. Bridge and roadway rehabilitation and maintence work will take place along this section of roadway. The closure is anticipated to last approximately 8-10 weeks, weather dependent.
Phase A will be a 30 Working Day Closure from Josephine Street south to Giles Road. Phase B will be a 12 Working Day closure of 168th From Josephine Street north to Harrison Street. 168th Street from Giles Road to Harrison Street will be closed to thru traffic for the duration of the project.
The project is in response to an emergent condition of the bridge abutments over the BNSF Railroad that will require the closure of 168th Street. While the roadway is closed, there will be a drainage project to address erosion to the South Papillion Creek, and a project to correct pavement failures in the asphalt paving from approximately Gertrude Street to Harrison Street. These pavement failures are best addressed at this time to minimize traffic disturbance. Currently, roadway widening is being contemplated from HWY N370 to Harrison Street, and the goal of this project is to preserve this section of roadway up and until the widening is to commence at a future date.
Millard Park residents who live off of 168th and Josephine, please note you will detour north in Phase A and detour south in Phase B. Cedar Ridge residents and RCI Roofing will detour to the south for the entirety of the project. All other developments are to utilize other access points as best as possible.
Should you have any questions feel free to contact Brian Becker, Construction Manager, Sarpy County Public Works at 402-537-6924.
Sarpy County Public Works has closed the following road due to an emergent condition:
Between Pflug Road and US HWY 6
Effective today, 8/18/17, Sarpy County Public Works has closed 234th Street from Pflug Road to US HWY 6 to thru traffic. The bridge north of Pflug Road has been closed due to an emergent condition. The bridge is closed to all traffic, and the roadway closure will be in effect until further notice.
Sarpy County Contact: Gregg Nisotis, Engineer – 402-537-6913 (Office)
We are asking the traveling public to be aware of the closure and to find alternate routes of travel. Local traffic will be allowed to access all properties throughout the duration of closure.
The City of Gretna, along with Engemann Drainage Company will have the following road closed for utility construction:
Between 204th Street and 192nd Street
Beginning at 10:00 am on Monday, August 21st, 2017, Engemann Drainage Company will close Capehart Road from 204th Street to 192nd Street to thru traffic. Engemann Drainage Company will be constructing a sanitary sewer crossing just east of 204th Street. This closure is tentatively expected to last 4 days, weather dependent.
Contractor: Justin Engemann, Project Superintendent, Engemann Drainage Company 816-244-7464 (cell)
Project Engineer: Greg Perry, PE, Project Manager, Olmsted and Perry Consulting Engineers 402-399-8552 (office)
We are asking the traveling public to be aware of the closure and to find alternate routes of travel. Local traffic will be allowed to access all properties throughout construction.
Effective IMMEDIATELY, Sarpy County Public Works has closed Cornhusker Road from HWY 31 to 192nd Street to thru traffic. The bridge west of the railroad undercrossing has been closed due to an emergent condition. The bridge is closed to all traffic, and the roadway closure will be in effect until further notice.
We are asking the traveling public to be aware of the closure and to find alternate routes of travel. Local traffic will be allowed to access all properties throughout construction.
Due to weather conditions this project did NOT start on Wednesday, July 26 but rather Friday, July 28. New estimated completion date is Wednesday, August 2.
The Sarpy County Public Works Department along with Ruff Grading will have the following road(s) closed due to construction:
Beginning Wednesday, July 26 through Friday, July 28, Ruff Grading will be closing 108th Street from Cornhusker Road to Wittmus Drive during the day from 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. During this time the contractor will be using large equipment to move a substantial amount of dirt from the east side of 108th to the west side. The road will be opened each day during the evening hours. It is anticipated that the closure will be for these 3 days. Weather permitting.
We are asking the traveling public to be aware of the road closures and to find alternate routes of travel. NOTE: Residents along these roadways will be allowed to access their property during this time of construction
Beginning Monday, July 24, 2017, Sarpy County Public Works will be closing Fairview Road from 114th Street to 120th Street. They will be removing an existing metal culvert and replacing with a larger metal culvert and re-profiling the roadway.
It is anticipated the project will be completed in two weeks, weather permitting.
We are asking the traveling public to be aware of the road closure and the appropriate detours. Residents will be allowed access to their property during construction.
The Sarpy County Board of Commissioners is pleased to announce the appointment of John M. Hubbard as Sarpy County’s new Corrections Director. Mr. Hubbard, a Papillion resident, currently serves as the Deputy Director of the Douglas County, Nebraska Department of Corrections. He has over 36 years of experience in the field of corrections, including 22 years in senior corrections leadership, twice serving as Interim Director of Corrections in Douglas County. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Bellevue University and is the recipient of several honors and awards from Douglas County and the American Correctional Association. He was selected from over 30 applicants from across the nation.
Commissioner Jim Warren stated that “John is an expert in correctional facility operations and will be a strong leader in transitioning the County to a Corrections Department and addressing the issues of jail overcrowding that we are facing.”
Hubbard noted that “I’m looking forward to the challenges of building the Corrections Department in the growing community of Sarpy County. I thank the County Board of Commissioners and County Administrator Dan Hoins for their support and confidence in me.”
His appointment will be effective on September 5, 2017.
On or before June 1, in addition to the notice of preliminary valuation published pursuant to section 77-1301, the county assessor shall notify the owner of record as of May 20 of every item of real property which has been assessed at a value different than in the previous year. Such notice shall be given by first-class mail addressed to such owner's last-known address. It shall identify the item of real property and state the old and new valuation, the date convening of the county board of equalization, and the dates for filing a protest.
Beginning Monday April 3rd, 2017, 114th Street from Hwy 370 to Schram Road and Schram Road from 114th Street to 111th Street will be closed to continue with grading, storm sewer and paving of 114th Street and Schram Road.
The completion of this project is June 5, 2017, weather permitting.
Contractor: Chris Wilsey, Tab Construction (402) 331-1244
Project Inspector: Joe Oetken, Lamp Rynearson & Associates (402) 496-2498
Owner: Project Administrator: Bill Herr (402) 537-6906
We are requesting the traveling public to be aware of the road closures and to find alternate routes of travel.
NOTE: Residents along these roadways will be allowed to access their property during this time of construction
The preparation of this report has been financed in part through grant(s) from the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration, and the U.S. Department of Transportation. The contents of this report do not necessarily reflect the official views or policy of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for its contents or use thereof. The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers’ names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.
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Sarpy County is again pleased to partner with the cities in Sarpy County to offer spring and fall clean up events to residents. The County’s willingness to waive its landfill charges has been part of the program for many years and has helped the communities provide an opportunity for citizens to dispose of unwanted trash at no cost.
To inspire healthy living and strengthen community through a state-of-the-art, championship athletic park accessible to all.
We strive to facilitate healthy living and athletic excellence to people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. ▪ To host local, regional and national amateur athletic events ▪ To raise the level of participation, performance and opportunity for athletes ▪ To serve Nebraskans from cradle to grave by ensuring accessibility regardless of age, ability and socioeconomic status ▪ To make a positive economic impact on Nebraska