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Commissioners reveiw budget proposals from dept. heads

Farmland value continues downward trend

Ideal Market continues reciepts for Education program

Wilcox bank merges into Cornerstone


Commissioners review budget proposals from dept. heads

The Nuckolls County Board at Monday's regular meeting conducted budget discussions with elected officials and other department heads. Departmental budgets reviewed, for the most part, remained flat from last fiscal year, except for the across-the-board salary increases approved last month.
After reviewing the proposed budget for the county assessor's office, commissioner Tim Zikmund told assessor Susan Rogers he was concerned about future valuation protests because of the property valuations being assigned by her office and the contracted appraiser. Commissioner Doyle Christensen said he agreed.
After reviewing the budget for the county treasurer's office, commissioner Dan Corman asked treasurer Vicki Ensign if anyone in her office could go to half time. Ensign said no. Corman then complained that none of the treasurer's office employees have served on the various county committees (safety, personnel, insurance, etc.). During a discussion about whether or not it was feasible to make serving on committees compulsory (amending job descriptions, essentially), commissioner Christensen said if an employee doesn't have a genuine interest in serving on a committee, the committee is probably better off without that particular employee.
During review of the district court budget, Susan Rogers and Vicki Ensign thanked Royce Gonzales for the work he does keeping computers and software running smoothly in many courthouse offices in addition to his. The board suggested adding some compensation for Gonzales for that work in the form of a line item for technology consulting in the miscellaneous general budget.
Other budgets reviewed Monday included those for the board of commissioners, veteran services office, county court, county clerk, election commissioner, register of deeds, medical relief, GIS, visitors promotion, liability claim reserve, extension office and building and grounds. Budgets scheduled for review and discussion at the next meeting include noxious weed, county attorney, diversion program, drug law enforcement, sheriff's department, jail, civil defense, 911, emergency management, miscellaneous general and road and bridge.
In other business:
· The commissioners approved a funding request in the amount of $5,000 from ASAAP (Area Substance and Alcohol Abuse Prevention) in Hastings.
· Meeting as the board of equalization, the commissioners made final determinations regarding last week's property valuation protest hearings.
· A special designation liquor license was approved for Superior Estates Winery for an event on Aug. 20.
· As required by state statute, the commissioners conducted their quarterly inspection of the county jail facilities.
· The board reviewed the three-year plan for the assessor's office as provided by assessor Susan Rogers.

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Farmland value continues downward trend
A steady but gradual decline in farmland values continued into the first half of 2016 across the states served by Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica). Iowa has experienced the greatest decline in average farm values ­ about 20 percent since the market's 2013 peak. Nebraska and South Dakota farmland has declined by a more modest 12.5 and 4.8 percent respectively during the same period.
Demand for farmland also is down. Public land auctions declined 8 percent in the first six months of 2016 compared to the previous year. This percentage includes public auctions in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming, as well as Kansas, where FCSAmerica works in alliance with Frontier Farm Credit to monitor farmland values.
Across the five states, lower farm incomes and per-acre profitability continue to put downward pressure on farmland values. Unlike last year, when a strong livestock market led to increased demand for pastureland, values on both pasture and cropland are generally down in 2016. This reflects lower commodity prices for grain as well as cattle.

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Ideal Market continues Reciepts for Education program
Ideal Market sponsors a Receipts for Education program to help provide educational equipment for the classrooms of the store's customers' children.  Schools, parents and friends save register tapes and exchange the total value for free teaching tools from a catalog of more than 2,000 items. 
During the 2015-2016 school year customers saved enough receipts to earn the Superior school $2,739.00 worth of equipment for the classrooms. 
The store plans to continue the program for the 2016-2017 school year.

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Wilcox bank merges into Cornerstone
Friday the Wilcox branch of Iowa-Nebraska State Bank was merged into Cornerstone Bank.
Mike Soneson will serve as vice-president and manager of the Wilcox Branch. A native of the Holdrege area, he is a graduate of Holdrege High School and the University of Nebraska with a bachelor of science degree in agronomy. He has farmed and also worked as a loan officer at the First National Bank of Holdrege for nine years. Mike and his wife, Marcia, have four grown children and nine grandchildren.
In addition to the purchase of the bank, Cornerstone also purchased the Iowa-Nebraska State Bank Insurance Agency at Wilcox. This agency will continue to be managed by Stephanie Harms.
With this addition, Cornerstone has 38 banking facilities in 29 communities including Edgar, Guide Rock, Davenport and Clay Center and 15 insurance agencies in the 15 county area that it serves.

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