Prisoner Costs, Feeding Seized Cattle, New Jail, And More Discussed During Supervisors Meeting

CUSTER COUNTY— The Custer County Board of Supervisors held their regular meeting on Tuesday, February 23 with a handful of items on the agenda. The main topic of the meeting centered on extra expenditures, the jail, and office space for the Custer County Sherriff’s Office.

Custer County Sheriff Dan Osmond said the Sheriff’s Office had taken on extra expenses in the last few months due to prison relocation and feeding cattle that were seized during a search warrant. Osmond stated that Juan Colombe, who is being housed at another jail due to the higher security he requires, is costing the county nearly $30,000 to house him. Osmond said, unfortunately, there is nothing he can do about the issue, but wanted to make sure the Supervisors were aware.

Osmond also said the news would not get better as bills would be coming in on feeding and labor for cattle that were seized during a search warrant in December 2020. The hope is to receive a court order that will allow the county to sell the cattle, but the court system is slow, and that the owners of the cattle would fight the possible court order. Osmond said there are 241 cattle that are being fed at $670 per day and that if bills start being sent in, the Sheriff’s Office would need assistance.

Osmond noted that the feedlot the county was working with was being very patient and had not sent a bill yet to allow the county time to receive some money. He also noted that at some point the bills will be coming in and a plan would need to be formulated to take care of the financial burden that had fallen on the county.

Also during the meeting, Osmond talked with the board about the need for more space for the Custer County Sherriff’s Office and upgrades to the current jail. According to Osmond, the current building houses the jail, Custer County Communications, Broken Bow Police Department, and the Custer County Sheriff’s Office. BBPD and CCSO currently have the same amount of officers, but the space for BBPD doubles the current space for CCSO, which has forced Osmond to turn closets into office spaces and storage.

Osmond stated that ideally they would build a new jail and renovate the current jail into office space for CCSO and possibly expand the communications space. The cost of a new jail would be in the area of $5 million, but Osmond noted that the county is at a point where something has to be done.

District 5 Supervisor Don Olson said that this topic had been brought up in the past, but agreed that the county needs to move forward. District 4 Supervisor Dwain Bryner also agreed that now is the time to move forward and also said that the need is clearly higher now than it was when discussions took place a number of years ago.

No decision was made regarding the jail.

The Supervisors approved the closure of a bank box at Nebraska State Bank which had initially been opened following 9/11 to preserve backup tapes away from the courthouse. Custer County Treasurer Sheri Bryant said that the box is not needed anymore as technology has advanced allowing for the backup tapes to be stored on the cloud.

Also approved were the policy updates to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Owner Occupied Rehabilitation Program (OOR). While the Supervisors approved the repurposing of the funds in June 2020, it was not the smoothest process to approve the policy updates as it took multiple asks for the motion and second to even get the topic to a vote. The Supervisors voted 4-2 in favor of the policy changes with Olson and District 7 Supervisor Doug Stunkel the only two voting ‘No.’

Other approvals was the program agreement for the County Bridge Match Program #5 and the signing of the letter against LB102, with the Supervisors in support of the District Court Clerk continuing to be elected locally and not assigned by the State of Nebraska.