Custer County Budget Approved by Board of Supervisors

Custer County Budget Approved by Board of Supervisors
Alden Unruh (left, standing) and attorney Jason White spoke before the Custer County Board of Supervisors on Sept. 15 regarding Road #857.

BROKEN BOW—As budget time comes to a close, the Custer County Board of Supervisors approved the county budget for fiscal year 2020-2021 along with the final tax request on Tuesday, September 15.

The property tax request was approved at $6,986,264 with the tax rate/levy set at 0.200876 and operating budget set at $30,191,637.15.

Compared to 2019, valuations within the county dropped about 4%, the property tax request increased about 1.22%, and the tax rate/levy increased by about 6%.

Prior to action taken on the budget, the Board of Supervisors held a regular meeting the morning of September 15 which included a lengthy public hearing on the possible vacation of Road #857.

Richard Maxwell (sitting) spoke before the Custer County Board of Supervisors on behalf of the Custer Township on Sept. 15 regarding Road #857.

Richard Maxwell spoke in favor of closing the road, which is located within the Custer Township. Maxwell said Road #857 was approved as a minimum maintenance road by the township board in June of 1996. He added that this was done as a convenience to the property owner–Alden Unruh–and that the road leads to a mobile home which is used as a rental property.

Due to weight restrictions, road graders are unable to cross a bridge along Road #857 in order to maintain it and cannot access the road via the pasture due to liability. Maxwell said special efforts to maintain the road have all been done to accommodate Unruh  but that a government entity is not required to maintain a road that leads to a private structure. After years of back-and-forth discussions, Maxwell requested on behalf of the Custer Township that the Board of Supervisors close Road #857.

Attorney Jason White appeared before the supervisors along with Alden Unruh asking to leave the road open and re-open negotiations on how to maintain the road.

Supervisor Matt Eggleston said he is hesitant to set a precedent of allowing a county and/or township to maintain a road that leads to a private residence and Chairman Barry Fox said the road “effectively acts as a private driveway.”

Following the public hearing, the board voted to offer Road #857 back to the township–which has 120 days to decide if it wants to maintain it–and voted to request a road study.

Also on Tuesday morning, the board approved Resolution #44-2020 to establish the Re-purposing Housing Grant Fund, Resolution #45-2020 to declare some county property as surplus, Resolution #46R-2020 County Annual Certification of Program Compliance 2020 to the Nebraska Board of Public Roads Classifications and Standards.

The board approved applications to cross county right-of-way, and approved Resolution #52-2020–the Callaway Road railroad crossing closure agreement.

The board also heard from Custer Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Andrew Ambriz regarding housing administration and lead based paint inspections for the housing rehab program. No decisions were made.

A public hearing for Resolution #47R-2020 to accept the road study on Road #325 1/2 (railroad crossing in Mason City) will be held on Tuesday, October 13 at 10:45 a.m.