Seven supervisors or five commissioners?
Antelope County voters will again decide whether or not to continue the present township form of government.
On Tuesday, seven Antelope County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to pass a resolution, allowing voters to decide which form of government they want in the November general election - the current township government with seven supervisors, or to change to five commissioners.
This isn't the first time this issue has been placed on the ballot. Most recently, voters defeated the issue - 2,280 to 953 - in the 2004 general election, according to Antelope County Clerk Carolyn Pedersen.
The ballot language this time will ask voters if they are: "For discontinuance of township organization and creation of a five-member county board of commissioners; or Against changing to a commissioner form of county government."
Pedersen said this issue was recently brought up again when individuals began asking questions about transitioning to five commissioners and hiring a "road boss."
She said Allen Bentley first inquired about changing the form of government, but discovered individuals are required to conduct a petition drive before the question can be placed on the ballot. Supervisor Charlie Henery decided to put it on the board's regular agenda. The board of supervisors were able to simply pass a resolution in order to place the issue on the ballot. If the voters support the new form of government, it takes some time to implement.
"If the voters support the creation of a five-member board of commissioners, the county clerk, county treasurer and county attorney must meet on the first Saturday after the first Tuesday of January after the election and redistrict the county into five districts with substantially equal population," according to the Nebraska Association of County Officials (NACO).
This redistricting must be completed within 30 days after the initial meeting. If necessary, it must specify the new districts where existing members will serve the balance of their unexpired terms. Except for purposes of being nominated and elected for office from the district, the newly established districts do not become effective until the terms of office expire in January three calendar years after the vote to discontinue the township form, according to NACO.
Pedersen said she "has no idea" how the change could impact the county financially.
"The supervisors set their own salaries now," she said. "If it goes to commissioners, that will still be the case. We can speculate, but you will never really know until you go through it."
Currently 26 counties operate under the township form of government. Buffalo County will transition from a township form to a commissioner form of government in January 2015.
Click here to learn more about township government from NACO.