Supervisors Discuss Recycling, Budget Shortages, And More During Tuesday’s Meeting

CUSTER— Budgets were the main topic of discussion on Tuesday, June 29 as the Custer County Board of Supervisors approved the transfer of over $37,000 to cover shortages in other departments.

The Supervisors unanimously approved transferring money in the General Fund to cover the shortages in the budgets for the Judicial Center, Custer County Jail, and Emergency Management. The Custer County Jail had the largest shortfall of $28,544.98 due to multiple prisoners costing more than anticipated.

Emergency Management added a new employee that was not budgeted for and thus was $8,311.10 short in the budget. The Judicial Center was the final budget that had a shortfall of $721.20. According to the resolution that was read by District 3 Supervisor Barry Fox, the General Fund has adequate funds to cover the shortfalls in the aforementioned budgets.

The University of Nebraska Extension budget was the next item discussed which was brought forward by Ext. Agent Troy Walz. Walz stated this year the proposed budget was increased by 1.15% or $14,086 to cover vacations, computers, and other items. He noted there were no pay raises included in the budget, and said those could be altered at a later time. The total proposed budget was $130,693.

Custer County Recycling Manager Kelly Flynn gave his quarterly report on the happenings at the Recycling Center. Flynn said prices have come up for a number of products including newspaper and cardboard and also noted that they are continuing to sort plastic which has helped bring in a little extra money.

Flynn also said he has received requests to recycle glass and is working on how to do that. As of now, glass is not accepted at the Recycling Center, and Flynn noted it would not bring in any money. He said if the glass was to be accepted in the future, it would only be bottles that would be taken to Kearney, then shipped to Ripple Glass in Kansas City, MO.

District 4 Supervisor Dwain Bryner stated he had concerns about accepting glass if it would not make any money. He noted that the Recycling Center already operates in a deficit and asked if adding to that deficit was a good idea.

Eventually, it was decided that Flynn would talk with Arnold about what they are doing regarding glass and make a decision after gathering more information.

The only other topic that was discussed at length was the tower lease agreements. Emergency Manager Mark Rempe said he had been approached by landowners about wanting to increase the payments made through the leases. Through the current 99-year lease, the money paid to the landowners for the use of the land for the towers is around $400/year.

The towers, located in Comstock, Oconto, Mason City, and near Merna, are specifically used by emergency services for communication. Spots on the tower are also leased by other organizations including John Deere, NCTC, KNOP TV, Nebraska Regional Interoperability Network (NRIN), County Roads Department, and others.

Rempe told the board that his concern is opening up the agreements for renegotiation. He said one of the landowners approached him and wanted over $1,000. While members of the board did have a differing opinion on certain aspects of the agreement, the majority decided that opening up for renegotiation was a bad idea.

Supervisor Fox noted that if the negotiations were reopened and they were not successful, it would cost thousands of dollars to relocate the tower. Rempe stated he would check the lease agreements and make sure the county was doing everything properly.

Also approved was the reappointment of Dell Moniger to the Veterans Service Commission for a five-year term and relinquishing Roads 1128 and 1679 to the Arnold Township.