The Lincoln County commissioners have appointed Alex Gurciullo to finish out the county treasurer term that ends in January 2023.
At a special meeting Monday afternoon, the board conducted a difficult open interview process of three candidates. Chawna Treat and current Deputy County Treasurer Sheri Newton were the other two applicants interviewed.
All four commissioners present — Bill Henry was absent — said the decision was a difficult one with three well-qualified candidates.
“This is not a vote against one of them,” Commissioner Joe Hewgley said after Gurciullo was nominated by Chris Bruns. “This is really difficult to balance what we have to do from here with the open meetings law, and it’s hard on all of us.”
Chairman Kent Weems said all three were good candidates.
“We have to weigh the balance between experience and formal training,” Weems said.
Newton has the experience of working in the treasurer’s office as deputy treasurer since May 2018.
Treat has worked for the city of North Platte for 20 years and currently processes all the invoices for the city. That encompasses nine departments and 400-500 invoices every two weeks. She also balanced nine checking accounts.
Gurciullo has a degree in business administration and accounting from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, as well as four years of audit experience. She works for Manning and Associates in Geneva.
“I have three tax seasons under my belt,” Gurciullo said, “and am familiar with the tax laws.”
Gurciullo is working toward her public accountant certification, having completed one of four required exams.
“I am definitely overjoyed,” Gurciullo said of the appointment. “Whenever you want something, you fight for it, you go get it and you do get it, it’s a great feeling.”
She said there will be much to learn about the treasurer’s job.
“I’m not saying it’s going to be easy,” Gurciullo said. “But I’m ready for the challenge and really excited.”
Gurciullo said she has been looking for a reason to move back to her hometown of Maxwell, where she graduated from high school.
“This is a great opportunity to come back,” Gurciullo said. “I feel like I’ve been through a lot and I can contribute a lot to this office.”
Gurciullo said she has a lot of pride in the community of North Platte.
“I have very good ethical values,” Gurciullo said, “and I’m very disappointed in what’s happened with the Treasurer’s Office the past few years.”
The first motion by Commissioner Jerry Woodruff was to appoint Newton, but the motion failed for lack of a second. Bruns then made the motion to nominate Gurciullo and it passed on a 3-1 vote with Woodruff voting against.
A date for Gurciullo’s swearing-in has not yet been set.
The commissioners also approved the 2021-22 fiscal year budget and final tax request without much fanfare at Monday’s special meeting.
The board conducted three separate meetings to conduct its business Monday: the regular meeting, the budget and final tax request public hearing, and the special meeting to approve the budget and tax request and to appoint the new treasurer.
No one from the public spoke at the budget and tax request hearings after accountant Susan Maline presented some of the particulars published previously.
The operating budget rose 9.42% from $54.6 million in 2020 to $59.8 million for 2021, Maline said the main reason for the increase was the COVID American Rescue Plan that added $6.8 million to the budget.
The property tax request went down from $17.6 million in 2020 to $16.9 million, a 3.88% decrease, and the tax rate dropped from 35 cents to 33 cents per $100 of valuation, a decrease of 6.19%.
In its regular 9 a.m. meeting, the commissioners:
» Authorized Chairman Kent Weems to sign a special designated liquor application submitted by Good Life on the Bricks for a wedding reception Oct. 2 at Harbor Lights.
» Approved an application submitted by Jeremy and Alisa Hoffman to consolidate two lots into one at 153 Northridge Circle Drive, for Hillcrest 2nd Administrative Subdivision, which is in an R-2 Urban Density Residential District.
» Approved five special designated liquor permits submitted by Pals Brewing Company for events at the Homestead Pumpkin Patch on Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29. The item was tabled from the Sept. 6 meeting to request a smaller area for consuming beverages, which was defined by the applicant with a map.
» Adopted a resolution for the Twin Platte NRD Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan. Region 51 Emergency Management Director Brandon Myers said the plan is offered for approval every five years.