Gage County Democrats Seek State Help, With Beatrice Six Jury Award

BEATRICE – The Gage County Democratic Party has sent a letter and petition to Governor Pete Ricketts, asking that the state allocate budget funds to pay a $28.1 million jury verdict against Gage County, in the Beatrice Six case.

The Chairman of the Gage County Democrats spoke before the Gage County Board today, asking the county to also make that formal request. But, county officials say they’ve been instructed not to comment on the effort or take a formal position, while an appeal of the case is pending before the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Gage County Democratic Party Chairman Don Schuller fears an additional property tax requirement of up to $33 million, for Gage County taxpayers.

:23                  “family budgets”

Schuller says the impact is before consideration is given to a pending Beatrice School District Elementary Bond issue and Southeast Community College bond issue next month, and pending bond obligations other local governments have.  He also cited planned upgrades of wastewater and landfill projects in Beatrice.

:21                  “haunt us, for decades”

Gage County has the letter on file, from the local democratic party, but Supervisors Chairman Myron Dorn says the body cannot discuss or take formal action itself, on the initiative.

:24                  “all we’re doing”

Schuller says the state will be working on a new two-year budget, and says its urgent that the Governor act on the request, now.  Gage County Attorney Roger Harris says the county is considering all of its options, following the jury verdict and award.

Former State Senator George “Bill” Burrows of rural Adams urged the county to also seek the assistance of the state attorney general’s office.   Burrows, a Democrat, said the matter is not about politics.

:08                  “heck of a blow”

The Gage County Board spent time in closed session Wednesday with legal counsel representing the county, in the Beatrice Six case.