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Antelope County will change to a commissioner form of government in 2017.
The new government will be run by 5 commissioners, whereas the county currently operates as 7 supervisors overseeing 24 townships. In Nebraska, only 26 counties currently use township governments (Buffalo Co. will switch in 2015).
Voters favored this issue by a narrow margin of 34 votes in Tuesday's general election, 1140-1106, according to unofficial results from Antelope County Clerk Carolyn Pedersen.
She said the first step to change the township government to a commissioner government involves a meeting in which the Antelope County Clerk, Antelope County Attorney and Antelope County Treasurer will "re-district" the county on Saturday, Jan. 10. Those attending will be Lisa Payne (the newly-elected clerk), Joe Abler (re-elected attorney) and Sandy Knapp (re-elected treasurer).
These county officials are responsible for establishing five new districts with substantially equal population. The redistricting must be done within 30 days after the initial meeting. They must specify the new districts where existing members will serve the remainder of their unexpired terms.
Pedersen said the five commissioners will be selected in a few different ways. First, the top 3 supervisors unofficially receiving the most votes in Tuesday's election (all ran unopposed) - Eddie Schindler (330), LeRoy Kerkman (292) and Jerald Schwager (277) - will serve as a supervisor from 2015-2016 and the final two years of their term as a commissioner, representing the newly established district. Neil Williby who was re-elected with 253 votes, will serve as a supervisor in 2015-16 without a guarantee of becoming a commissioner. Supervisors Charlie Henery, Merlin Bolling and Harlan Brandt are also not guaranteed chances at becoming commissioners. Two commissioners will be elected for 4-year terms from the newly established districts at the general election in November 2016.
When the township form is discontinued, as soon as the county board of commissioners is qualified, they town clerk of each town must deposit the town records, papers and documents to the county clerk, according to the Nebraska Association of County Officials (NACO). "The town clerk must also certify the amount of outstanding indebtedness of the town," NACO states. "The county board can settle all unfinished business and dispose of any and all property. After paying all indebtedness, any proceeds shall be credited to the benefit of the taxable inhabitants by crediting the amount to the road district fund. The county board shall levy a tax against the taxable property of the town to pay any unliquidated indebtedness that may be outstanding."