Committee considers appointment terms, biennial budgets

The Urban Affairs Committee heard testimony Jan. 22 on four measures that would modify provisions for primary, first and second class cities and villages. All were introduced by Lincoln Sen. Amanda McGill.

LB87 would provide that an appointee filling a vacancy on an airport authority board would serve the unexpired term of the vacated board member. Currently, the appointee would serve only until a successor could be elected at the next general election.

Some cities are having problems filling board vacancies, McGill said, because a board member who is appointed soon must campaign for the same position.

Rodney Storm, Blair city administrator, testified in support of the bill, saying he has difficulty convincing people to serve on special purpose entities.

“[This bill] would be a big step in helping us secure a qualified candidate,” he said. “Once their appointment is made, they would not have to worry about running for election, and that would give them time to get acclimated to the responsibilities and needs of the airport.”

LB111 would allow cities of the first and second class and villages to file biennial budgets with the state auditor’s office and county clerk.

State law classifies incorporated cities, villages and municipalities by their population. If the population is:

  • 300,000 or more it is a metropolitan class city;
  • 100,001 to 299,999 it is a primary class city;
  • 5,001 to 100,000 it is a first class city;
  • 801 to 5,000 it is a second class city; and
  • 100 to 800 it is a village.

McGill said metropolitan and primary class cities were authorized in 2000 to file biennial budgets with voter approval. The bill would extend that authority to smaller cities and allow more opportunities for long-term planning, she said.

Crete Mayor Roger Foster testified in support of the bill. Crafting and operating under a biennial budget would save time and protect cities from inflation costs incurred on expenses throughout a budget’s time frame, he said.

LB112 would transfer record keeping and reporting on bonds from a city clerk to a city treasurer in first and second class cities and villages. The bill also would require the treasurer to prepare lists of and collect all special assessments.

Gary Krumland of the League of Nebraska Municipalities testified in support of the bill, saying city clerks obtain much of the information needed by city treasurers to conduct the bond reports. Transferring these duties to the city treasurer would make the process more efficient, he said.

Finally, LB113 would authorize the mayor of a second class city to vote when it would create a number equal to a majority of the members elected to the council.

Krumland also supported LB113: “If the council is evenly divided, the mayor [currently] can vote. It just puts everything in limbo if [a council member] is absent and there is a 3-to-1 vote.”

No one testified in opposition to the bills and the committee took no immediate action on them.

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