Custer County Board of Supervisors renew predator control contract, extend township loan

The Custer County Board of Supervisors met at an uncommon time this week, coming together on Friday morning on the top level of the Custer County Courthouse.

A large group of citizens were in attendance for the board’s discussion and decision on the contract renewal with USDA/APHIS for predator control. Several took time to speak in support of the renewal happening, giving numerous examples of USDA’s Wayne Homan doing excellent work removing coyotes that were killing their cattle.

At the last board of supervisors meeting, rates presented to the board had gone up significantly since the last renewal three years ago. At that meeting, the board was told the rate was $32,506 for a one year contract, $35,757 per year for a two year contract, and $39,332 per year for a three year contract. The board was in agreement at that time that it didn’t make sense for the rate to be higher yearly for a longer contract.

Supervisor Kleeb stated that cattle and livestock being lost was the main thing she considered, stating that predators affect the bottom line of ranchers. Supervisor Dwain Bryner made a motion that offered contract terms with the USDA of $32,506 per year for three years. The board voted unanimously to approve the contract renewal at that rate.

Discussions regarding the six month contract with Zelle HR didn’t last long before being tabled. County attorney Steven Bowers submitted that he had some questions about the contract, but was not present to discuss them. The board agreed to wait on further discussion until his review was received.

Discussion about the Blue Cross/ Blue Shield subgroup renewal, which was stated to have a $100 deductible increase from $2,500 to $2,600 for 2022 to 2023. The board voted to approve the renewal with the increase with no other policies or costs changing for participants.

Tony Eggleston from the Arnold Township Board appeared to talk about a loan extension from damages caused to roads in 2019. The loan owed to the county was stated to be approximately $196,000.

Eggleston explained the work the new township board has been doing with FEMA and NEMA since 2020, including submitting a revised $714,000 request for funds which was approved. He said that the township’s plan was to fully repay the loan to the county, but if they have to repay now it would greatly reduce their chances of getting the project going since they want to use the money they receive for direct project costs first.

A motion was made by supervisor Doug Stunkel to extend the timetable for the full payback of the loan and for 25% to be repaid by the end of this September. Bobby Myers seconded and the motion passed with Stunkel, Myers, Kleeb, and Olson voting yes and Dwain Bryner voting no.

Custer County weed superintendent Tim Conover rounded out the meeting before the board regarding a damaged garage door on the weed building. He presented bids gathered from Mid Nebraska Garage Door and WeatherCraft. The full replacement big from Mid Nebraska was $4,800 and WeatherCraft came in at $4,995.

The board voted yes unanimously on a Myers motion to go with Mid Nebraska Garage Door’s price and for Conover to gather more quotes from electricians for that part of the work.