By Janet McCartney
SID. stands for Sanitary Improvement District. Nebraska state law permits a developer to form a SID. to sell bonds to finance the development and maintenance of a residential subdivision. This enables the utilities and streets to be laid out and finished. The SID. levies special assessments and taxes to the lot owners to pay for the work. The expenses of a SID. may include: operating and maintenance expenses, salaries, cost of materials, supplies for operation and maintenance, cost of ordinary repairs, replacements and alterations, cost of surety bonds and insurance, cost of audits, elections, and other fees.
A board of trustees administers the SID.'s business. Initially the developer fills the five trustee positions on the board. State law requires that the positions be filled with lot owners after a point in time. SID. No. 5 now has five lot owner trustees; three residents who are lot owners and two lot owners who are not residents. A representative of Bay Hills Limited Partnership, who owns a large portion of the empty lots, normally fills one of these positions. Though the law allows for trustees to be paid $15 per meeting and the clerk of the SID. can be paid $1,200 per year, our board members are not paid.
The board meets once a month, or as needed, to handle business. Besides the five elected trustees, the SID. uses the services of an attorney and an engineer; that attend meetings as needed. These two positions are paid based on the services performed. The engineer provides expertise in the general area of street and sewer maintenance, and is involved with any expansions or extensive maintenance projects. The lawyer is used when special legal services are needed.
SID. No. 5 was formed in the middle 70's when Buccaneer Bay was first developed. The district went through bankruptcy in the late 80's or early 90's. The past few years the district has seen growth and expansion and is very much on its way up. This doesn't mean the SID. doesn't need to closely monitor its budget.
The district has two wells, a 250,000-gallon water tower, and a booster station that supports the water system. There are 7.2 miles of water piping throughout the area holding over 128,000 gallons of water. There are five lift stations throughout the subdivision that feed the wastewater treatment plant. A new wastewater treatment plant was completed in April 2005; the plant can handle up to 120,000 gallons of waste per day. The SID. contracts with Urban Utilities to maintain the water and wastewater plants.
Besides water and wastewater maintenance some of the other items the SID. is responsible for are street maintenance, snow removal, street cleaning, street signs, front entry maintenance, mowing of SID. property, preparing annual budgets, and seeing that warrants are issued for payment of the bills. The money to cover the warrants comes from the tax levy set by the board when the budget is set. This money comes into the Cass County Treasurer's office when real estate taxes are paid, for Cass County this is usually twice a year.
The SID. board of trustees is elected every two years (even years) by an election that is conducted through the mail. Any property owner is eligible to run for office. There are two ballots, one that residents vote on, and one that all property owners vote on. Thus a resident can run on either ballot, but a person who owns property, but does not live at Buccaneer Bay can only run on the all property owners ballot. The ballots will be sent to property owner's home address with a date indicated when they must be returned to be counted.