BEATRICE – Gage County has approved a new four-year agreement with the City of Beatrice for the city to provide round-the-clock 911 and emergency dispatch service, through the Southeast Communications Center.  The agreement holds the annual fee unchanged through the four years, at $236,450. County Board Chairman Erich Tiemann said it’s similar to purchasing a service.

"We're a user. We buy a service, It may as well be a cell tower. We pay for a service, we receive that service. I'm okay with it that way. We don't have that back and forth. If we need something changed, they've made changes to accommodate us, I think....and as far as I know, we receive good service."

Supervisor Dave Swavely said the new agreement represents a good arrangement for the county.  "In today's world when you can get service without an increase, that's a good deal. And, you still get the same service....there's nothing wrong with that."

The Gage County Board held off on approval of EMS agreements with various local emergency response units in Gage County, after board member Emily Haxby raised the prospect of taking a closer look at the agreements.  "This is something we've brought up multiple know, we've done it that way for twenty years.....something I think we should look at to make sure that these funds are where we should be, with everyone."

Tiemann had the 911 and EMS agreements on the agenda, knowing that the end of the county’s fiscal year is coming up…at the end of June. The county is under no legal obligation to provide county support to the EMS units.  No vote was taken Wednesday on the EMS funding agreements.

Gage Area Growth Enterprise Wednesday received Gage County approval on a three-year funding agreement renewal.  NGage will receive up to $150,000 in county funding each year, the same as an agreement recently approved by the Beatrice City Council for funding of economic development efforts.
Gage County Board Chairman Erich Tiemann lauded the performance of the NGage Executive Director and Board.

"Things are going the right direction and it's exciting to see how NGage is functioning. This is working the way it is supposed to. We've got a great exec team, we've got a great director, things are moving. We don't always see them....that's okay. Just like in business, you don't see what's happening behind the scenes until you see a new building or a new product line."

NGage receives city and county funding in a formula that reimburses expenses of the economic development group, up to a total of $300,000 annually.
"We've had some hiccups along the way, early on with this. We resurrected an economic development group from the ashes, into what we have now. It wasn't perfect at first, but it's getting better all the time. I will tell you this is the best shape we've been in, since this organization started."

NGage also receives private support from business memberships or contributions.