WAHOO – The Saunders County Board of Supervisors have opened discussion on the possibility of consolidating some of the County offices.
Although he did not have any specific offices in mind, Supervisor Craig Breunig requested the discussion to look for potential cost savings. He said Lancaster and Douglas Counties have or are considering consolidating offices and Saunders County should look at the option as well.
“There is starting to be a move by some counties in an effort to save money,” he said. “Is this the beginning of the dominoes starting to fall?”
Breunig suggested technology might make consolidating more logical and efficient than it had been in the past. No investigation had been done into the specific potential for savings
“I just wanted to bring it up because, whoever’s on the Board in five years will talk about this a lot more seriously,” he said.
Breunig also suggested that considering consolidation made sense because the County will assume responsibility from the state for the Assessor’s office during the upcoming fiscal year. Consolidating the Assessor’s and Register of Deeds offices had been considered in previous years.
Saunders County Register of Deeds Don Clark said now was not the time to consolidate the two offices. Clark said his Register of Deeds office has the lowest budget and fewest employees in the state, compared to counties that see a similar workload.
A growing county population and incompatibility between the computer systems in each office were also suggested as reasons to hold off any consolidation.
Any move to consolidate offices would require majority approval from voters, according to Saunders County Clerk Patti Lindgren. She believed there would not be enough time to get the issue on the ballot for the upcoming November General Election.
The supervisors also addressed a statutory requirement to submit a budget. A preliminary budget was submitted with the budget requests from County offices, but no alterations from the supervisors were included.
The Board voted to hold a special meeting on July 31 at 8 p.m. to discuss the budget. The budget will also be a topic of the regular 9 a.m. meeting on July 31.
In other business, the board approved a recommendation by Public Works Director Steve Mika to accept the bid prices for all gravel projects, but to only award the project for the stockpile at the County Yards. The bids for other projects will be locked in, allowing the supervisors to approve them at a later date.