Buffalo County to continue free access to GIS

Jun 28, 2018

Buffalo County residents will continue to have free access to geographic information in Buffalo County.

At its Tuesday meeting, the Buffalo County Board of Commissioners approved the renewal of a one-year, agreement with Geographic Information Services Workshop. The agreement will cost the county approximately $30,000, according to Buffalo County Board Administrator Lynn Martin.

The board had considered three-year or five-year contracts.


Buffalo County Sheriff Neil Miller asked the board to consider the one-year contract because he wants departments to talk this year about how to make the service better.

“I feel like this is an area we could maybe do a little better in as officials on our side in not having these silos created within Buffalo County with GIS data. We need to meet as a group with the assessor’s people, the 911 group, everybody,” he told the board.

Board Chairman Bill McMullen of Kearney agreed.

“We’ve just kind of held it (GIS) at bay and now we need to, I think get more immersed in it and be able to take care of more and more ourselves and have our own people,” McMullen said.

After discussion at the meeting, county officials may decide to sign a contract with GIS Workshop that doesn’t include information maintenance. Rather, designated county employees may maintain the data. McMullen said the board is adding GIS responsibilities to the vacant flood plain administrator’s responsibilities.

Currently, the assessor’s office is correcting misidentified properties. But McMullen said the assessor’s office is busy now working with property valuation protest referees.

“I’m not saying they’re not doing a good job of it,” he said. “We just need somebody who is totally dedicated to that.”

In other matters, Assessor Ethel Skinner presented the board with a three-year county assessment plan.

She said her office has changed the way it reviews agriculture land.

She explained that her office assesses different townships each year and assesses all land within a six-year period, per state statute. In previous years, the assessor’s office evaluated land in possibly opposite corners of the county each year. However, this year, Skinner said her office will value land in the same region each year.

“When we do it together it’s easier to look at sales, where our values should be and to have some continuity in how we go around it,” she said.


The board unanimously approved her three-year plan. Joe Brayton and Sherry Morrow, both of Kearney, were absent during the meeting.

In other news, the board:

- Recognized the Boy Scouts of America Covered Wagon District for cleaning duck weed from the Buffalo County Lake near Ravenna.

- Approved a transfer of $45,000 from the general/miscellaneous budget to the buildings and grounds budget for maintenance of the Buffalo County Recreation Area near Ravenna.

- Approved an agreement with the Nebraska Department of Transportation for the inspection of the Platte River Bridge on Shelton Road and the South Loup River Bridge on Poole Road. Buffalo County Highway Superintendent John Maul said the inspection cost will be covered by match money.