Hughes drops by for visit with commissioners

    State Senator Dan Hughes stopped by the Chase County Courthouse for a visit with county commissioners Dave Hogsett, Chuck Vette and Don Weiss, Jr. June 26.
    Hughes updated the group on the Nebraska Supreme Court ruling concerning Rock Creek and N-CORPE.
    Hughes said natural resource districts (NRDs) are allowed to pay in lieu of taxes for whatever the ground would be taxed in private hands, in this case grassland. He said Dundy and Lincoln Counties “will take hits.”
    According to Hughes,the Nebraska Supreme Court says “you have to have control of the surface to pump groundwater.”
    Hughes went on to talk about the legislature’s efforts to lower property taxes that go to schools in an effort to make the state more responsible for educating kids. He said he’s not optimistic, however. There are too many urban senators from large school districts where the state aid formula works well, he said.
    “They have no incentive to share without additional revenue,” Hughes said.
    Discussion continued to nursing homes.
    With Medicaid reimbursement from the state cut again, the money isn’t there to help out nursing homes.
    Hughes suggested funds for education could take a hit to support Medicaid.
    With time winding down for his visit, Hughes responded to a question asking for his thoughts on Chase County’s proposed hospital.
    “If a community is going to thrive and survive, there’s two things people moving into the community look for. That’s hospital and school system,” Hughes said. “If you’ve got good systems there, you’re going to do all right. If you don’t, it’s pretty hard to play catch up,” he said.
    In the 10 counties Hughes covers, he said the communities that are growing and thriving do have good hospital and school systems.
    “If young people are going to come back, those are two of the things they look at,” Hughes said.
    “Imperial and Chase County is an example I use when I talk to a lot of people about communities that are growing and thriving because the money in those communities is willing to step up and invest in those communities. There’s wealth in every community but whether it’s locals willing to invest in local businesses makes the difference,” he said.
Library given tower access
    Representatives with Lied Imperial Public Library asked for permission to place an antenna on the Chase County Courthouse tower so the library can access Chase County Schools’ internet.
    Librarian Beth Falla said Imperial is one of five libraries in the state to receive a  grant allowing the library to share their local school’s internet.
    The service will be available for CCS teachers and students. Two computers will be available inside the library, but students with laptops can have access while sitting outside the library.
    “Some kids don’t have internet after school hours,” Falla said, “The library wants to provide extended hours for these kids.”
    The library’s line of sight to the school is blocked by trees so an antenna to relay the signal is needed.

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