Central Plains Satelite

Supervisors Approve Windtower Setbacks

October 8, 2015 by lmorgan · Comments Off 

From Our Friends At The Neligh News & Leader

The setback distance for homes near wind towers in Antelope County will increase for non-participating landowners following the Tuesday, Oct. 6, Board of Supervisors meeting.

The public hearing regarding wind tower regulation updates was opened at 9:30 a.m.

Four supervisors, Jerry Schwager, Neil Williby, Greg Koinzan and Charlie Henery, (Merlin Bolling, absent; LeRoy Kerkman, abstain; Ed Schindler, no) voted to follow recommendation of the Antelope County Planning Commission to increase the setback of wind towers to a total of 2,000 feet from non-participating residents.

As the hearing opened, Chairman Jerry Schwager asked for comments regarding the zoning regulations for the towers.

Rick Schuchardt of Elgin presented written information he had gathered after the planning commission’s meeting Aug. 2.  Schuchardt asked the board of supervisors to consider four recommendations including elimination of the use of wind tower participant and non-participant; establishing a setback of one-half mile (2,640 feet) for all residences; require a flicker study on all inhabitable dwellings and establish and regulate noise produced from Antelope County wind tower facilities to include an average night-time noise of 35 decibels from sunset to sunrise and  50 dB from sunrise to sunset.

Several county landowners spoke during the hearing along with James Williams, Invenergy representative.

Invenergy is currently in the planning process for a fourth wind tower project in Antelope County. The proposed Upstream Wind Energy Project will be located north of the Neligh area and is expected to produce 200 plus megawatts with approximately 100 turbines. The wind farm will stretch north of Highway 275 into Pierce County as well.

Kathy Schultz of rural Clearwater, a landowner in the Upstream Wind Energy Project area, said she has been to the planning commission hearings and is negotiating a contract to have a wind tower on her property.

Schultz said, “The windtower people have been very easy to work with.” She said everyone needs to put their requests in the contract and said one of her neighbors is opposed to the turbines. She told the supervisors, as part of her contract, she specified a tower not be located near that neighbor’s home.

Gary Borer, a homeowner near Elgin who has spoken against the wind turbines several times at past meetings, asked if anyone has ever measured the decibel level produced by the operating windtowers at the Prairie Breeze wind farms.

Current Antelope County zoning regulations state the decibel level of the towers must be 50 dB or lower.

Williams said a sound analysis was completed by a third party in regard to the Prairie Breeze towers located near Elgin and Petersburg, prior to construction.

Char Carpenter, Antelope County zoning administrator told the audience and board that a sound study was not completed following construction, however.

In other matters:

• the board opened bids for a motor grader.

The board voted to purchase an all-wheel-drive Caterpillar motor grader from NMC  in the amount of $288,350. Half of the total purchase price will be paid up front with the balance financed at two and one-half percent interest through CAT financing

• approved an extermination contract with O’Neill Pest Control

• held discussion on a mailing machine and the matter was tabled until February

• heard a tuckpointing proposal for the courthouse building from Karr Tuckpointing

• tabled an agreement on the Blue Cross Blue Shield dental resolution until Oct. 13

• reviewed four applications for the road boss position. Interviews will be held Nov. 3

• heard information regarding the county extension office resolution presentation  for the new office manager and a request that the employee status of Tessa Hain be changed from an hourly employee to a salaried employee.

Antelope County Clerk Lisa Payne said she has contacted Nebraska Intergovermnental Risk Association and will report back to the board on their recommendation of the change in employee status

• signed a contract for the sheriff’s office agreement with the Village of Clearwater

• Decided to hold a public auction to sell the old jail building and museum.

Clerk Payne will contact three auction companies, as requested by the board, to obtain rates for selling and will bring the information back to the Oct. 13 meeting.

Tax Asking Down In Approved District #18 School Budget

September 17, 2015 by lmorgan · Comments Off 

Public hearings were held prior to the start of Wednesday night’s regular meeting of the District #18 Board of Education.
No one from the public addressed the board on the proposed FY 2015/16 school budget, nor about the proposed tax asking.
Consequently, after the hearings were closed and the board went into regular session, passage of the budget and tax asking were a mere formality. On a vote of six-to-zero, the board passed the items which taxpayers should find much to their liking.
The budget calls for a tax asking of $2,668,127.14. That breaks down to $2,449,108.42 for the general fund and another $219,018.73 for the special building fund.
The tax asking represents an 11 percent reduction from one year ago.
Polk told the board the decline in tax asking is in large part due to “good fiscal management.” He said the school district carried over a good beginning balance, then there was revenue from the nameplate tax assessed to the Prairie Breeze Wind Energy farm, and also a sizable increase in state aid.
The budget calls for an increase in spending of just 2.5 percent. Yet, Polk said there will be a tax reduction of approximately $351,000.
Projecting ahead, Polk said it could be two to three years before the school district asks for the same approximate amount of tax dollars as they did last year.
“In my mind, that’s great news for taxpayers,” the superintendent said.
Having reviewed tax levy figures from other school districts in the state, he said District #18 will be either the second or third lowest in the state. The lowest? The Humphrey school district, he said.
In other school developments:
Football — Principal Greg Wemhoff said a Wolfpack committee, comprised of representatives from both schools, met earlier in the day. Eight-man football is a big concern, he said.
The committee is confident, he said, that the school should be able to stay at 8-man for next year and should be good for the two-year rotation.
Members — Wemhoff told the board FCCLA has 21 members, one-act has 33 and FFA has 46 members. “It’s neat to see the kids involved in different activities,” he said.
Gym floor — Polk told board member there are still some issues with the edge of the gym floor rising due to humidity. Overall, he said the new gym floor has been “very well received.”
In a matter of a few minutes, the board approved on second and final reading changes to school policies involving meeting minutes, equal opportunity employment, facilities for milk expression, certificated employee qualifications and recruitment, support staff qualifications and recruitment, return from pediatric cancer, curriculum development, bidding procedures, construction plans and specifications, and bids and awards for construction contracts.
The next regular meeting will be Wednesday, Oct. 14, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the distance learning room at the high school.

Vandalism Report At Wind Tower Construction Site Could Reach $200,000

August 27, 2015 by lmorgan · Comments Off 

Vandalism over the weekend may have resulted in upwards to $200,000 in damage at a wind tower construction site.
Antelope County Sheriff Bob Moore said his department is investigating a vandalism incident which occurred at a Prairie Breeze II wind turbine site in the vicinity of the “Million Dollar Corner” area.
Moore said sometime late Saturday or early Sunday morning a person or persons fired up an excavator and rolled one of the wind turbine “tubes” down a slope, marring it up.
The tube was damaged, but the extent of the damage can’t be determined, Moore said, until the manufacturer comes out to the site to inspect it. He estimated damage to be over $100,000 and could be as much as $200,000 if it needs to be taken back to the factory for repairs.
As a result of the incident, Moore said Wanzek Construction, general contractor for Prairie Breeze II, has hired a security company to monitor wind turbine sites until construction is completed. “The security company will have a white pickup with a yellow flashing light on it working the area,” the sheriff said.
Anyone with information in connection with the vandalism should contact the Antelope County Sheriff’s Department at (402) 887-4148.

Proceedings — Antelope County Board Of Supervisors

August 21, 2015 by lmorgan · Comments Off 

Neligh, Nebraska
August 11, 2015
Chairman opened meeting.  Notice of meeting published as required by statute.
A complete record of these minutes as well as all resolutions and agreements are on file at the County Clerk’s Office and are open to the public.
Those responding to roll call: Schindler, Kerkman, Koinzan, Henery and Schwager.  Bolling and Williby appeared later.
Approved claims as submitted.
General: Internal Revenue Service, ex, 108.00; AMH Family Practice, ex, 918.00; Antelope Co Dist Court, ex, 70.00 Antelope Co Court, ex, 200.00; Antelope Memorial Hospital, ex, 723.00; Appeara, ex, 81.60; Applied Connective Tech, ex, 338.87; AS Central, ex, 448.00; Fran Baum, ex, 52.30; Big Timber Tree, ex, 125.00; Merlin Bolling, ex, 43.70; Bomgaars, ex, 488.98; Eleanor Brady, ps, 25.00; Deborah Branstiter, ex, 3.73; Dean Brown, ps, 25.00; Carney Law. ex, 3,216.66; Bailey Carpenter, mlg, 33.69; Elgin City, ex, 250.00; Neligh City, ut, 3,389.85; Clearwater Record, ex, 162.00; Creative Product, ex, 17.50; Dollar General, ex, 133.10; Dugan Business Forms, ex, 191.97; Eakes Office Plus, ex, 117.30; Egley, Fullner, Montag & Hockabout, ex, 2,240.40; Elgin Review, ex, 339.94; Elite Office, ex, 113.74; Fitzgerald, Vetter & Temple, ex, 1,390.11; Frontier Comm, ut, 2,009.59; Great Plains Comm, ut, 180.00; Charles Henery, mlg, 67.28; Holt Co Court, ex,  8.50; Nadene Hughes, ps,  14.00; Indoff, ex, 32.65; J & A Tree Service, ex, 125.00; Jonny Dodge, ex, 206.95; Frank Kamphaus, ps, 16.00; Leroy Kerkman, mlg, 29.90;  Knox Co Emergency Mgt, ex, 193.20;  Jeffrey Doerr Law, ex, 200.74; Lichtenberg Tire, ex, 28.88; Madison Co Court, mlg, 4.75; Madison Co Sheriff, mlg, 28.29; Madison Co Treasurer, mlg, 73.53; Madison County, ex, 15,732.72; Manatron Inc, ex, 13,173.50; Leo Market, ex,; 71.39; Tammy Marshall, ex, 40.00; Marvin Planning Consultants, ex, 500.00; Joseph McNally, ex, 40.00; Microfilm Imaging, ex, 87.00; MIPS,, ex, 2,249.65; Morland, Easland & Lohrberg, ex, 943.86; Moyers, ex, 42.00; National Sheriff’s Assn, ex, 55.00; National 4-H Council, ex, 37.95; NE Health & Human, ex, 180.00; Neligh News, ex, 315.70; Neligh Office, ex, 144.00; Neligh-Oakdale Schools, ex, 85.90; Bruce Ofe, petty cash 95.33; OK Auto Parts, ex, 114.43; Orchard News, ex, 117.12; Donna Payne, ps, 25.00; Antelope Co Sheriff-petty Cash 29.76; Pinnacle Bank-Visa, ex,  46.84; Plainview News, ex, 34.50; Pope John-Art Dept, ex, 60.10; Quill, ex, 206.47; Ed Schindler, mlg, 100.63; Peggy Schrader, ex, 20.00; Schroeder Surveying, ex, 2,000.00; NE Secretary Of State, ex, 50.00; Caroline Siems, ps, 25.00; Source Gas, ut, 327.42; Special T’s, ex, 39.30; Chuck Thiemann, ex, 60.00; Thriftway Mkt, ex, 8.59; Tilden Citizen, ex, 47.83; Uline Supply, ex, 84.72; Unified School Dist, ex, 63.80; Neligh Postmaster, ex, 49.00;   US Cellular, ut, 370.44; Verizon, ut, 45.42; Clearwater Village, ut, 250.00; Wayne Co Treasurer, ex, 3,139.80; Bonita Welke, ps, 22.00; Western Office Plus, ex, 87.54; Neil Williby, mlg, 144.90; Willie’s Service, ex, 56.22; Woods & Aitken, ex, 184.00 Barton Koinzan, ex, 149.99
Road & Bridge (at Large) Appeara, ex, 157.39; ATCO International, ex, 328.25; B’s Enterprises, ex, 5,872.00; Bolling Excavating, ex, 5,332.00; Bomgaars, ex, 51.45; Cornhusker Inl, ex, 29.78; Elgin Auto Parts, ex, 94.41; Elkhorn Rural Public, ut, 409.70; Farmer’s Pride, ex, 5,146.12; Frontier Comm, ut, 272.33; Grand Island Trailer, ex, 553.96; Great Plains Comm, ut, 113.08; Green Line Equip, ex, 267.04; Hinrichsen Sand, ex, 11,612.14; Hometown Station, ex, 653.06; Island Supply, ex, 170.50; Jebro, ex, 165,854.81; JEO Consulting, ex, 1,155.00; Jonny Dodge, ex, 4,579.33; Kayton Inl, ex, 383.03; Klabenes Construction, ex, 3,100.00; Kumm Gas, ex, 1,765.67; Lazy T Tire, ex, 314.63; Lichtenberg Tire, ex, 142.00; Maddock Construction, ex, 5,302.81; Matteo Sand, ex, 340.92; Midwest Service, ex, 3,985.84; Mitteis Gravel, ex, 998.35; Mr S’s, ex, 1,294.85; Nebraska Public Power, ut, 118.13; Neligh Auto, ex, 62.21; Newman Traffic Signs, ex, 352.58; NMC Exchange, ex, 10,086.45; Norfolk Truck, ex, 75.00; OK Auto, ex, 262.84; Orval’s Auto, ex, 286.70; Quick Serve Oil, ex, 590.80; Royal One Stop, ex, 146.48; Rutjens Construction, ex, 385.00; Sapp Brother, ex, 2.79; Schlecht Trucking, ex, 3,069.00; Shell Fleet, ex, 2,174.29; Tinsley Grain, ex, 1,559.91; Town & Country, ex, 38.35; Willie’s Service, ex, 136.13; Wynn Auto Body, ex, 5,600.00
(Brunswick Area) Bazile Aggregate, ex, 198.00; Frontier Comm, ut, 79.57; Green Line Equip, ex, 185.04; Kayton Inl, ex, 1,500.00; Key Sanitation, ut, 18.00; Kumm Gas, ex, 3,370.33; Lazy T Tire, ex, 2,197.30; Matheson Tri-Gas, ex, 85.15; Mitteis Gravel, ex, 21.30; Neligh Auto, ex, 21.98; NMC Exchange, ex, 430.12; North Central Public Power, ut, 128.25; Reinke’s Farm, ex, 14.95; Brunswick Village, ut, 39.50
(Orchard Area) Bolling Excavating, ex, 722.50; Dusty’s, ex, 208.75; Farmer’s Pride, ex, 2,495.46; Frontier Comm, ut, 66.85; Hinrichsen Sand, ex, 338.29; Lichtenberg Tire, ex, 86.50; North Central Public Power, ut, 52.56; Powerplan-Murphy Tractor, ex,  2,404.88;  Source Gas, ut, 35.42; Willie’s Service, ex, 7.98
(Clearwater Area) Bomgaars, ex, 8.71; Elkhorn Rural Public, ut, 108.23; Farmer’s Pride, ex, 2,453.66; Green Line Equip, ex, 82.00;
Hinrichsen Sand, ex, 123.71; Kayton Inl, ex, 9.50; Mitteis Gravel, ex, 6,763.80; Neligh Auto, ex, 172.77; NMC Exchange, ex, 8,593.79; NE Nebr Telephone, ut, 53.60; Shell Fleet, ex, 329.27; Source Gas, ut, 30.35; Clearwater Village, ut,  54.00; Pollock Redi Mix, ex, 4,170.57
(Neligh Area) Farmer’s Pride, ex, 1,607.31; Frontier Comm, ut, 62.16; Kayton Inl, ex, 355.25; Mitteis Gravel, ex, 86.21; Neligh Auto, ex, 66.00; Willow Creek Sand, ex, 5,093.30
(Tilden Area) Tilden City, ut, 104.82; Constellation Gas, ut, 49.12; Farmer’s Pride, ex, 1,455.37; Frontier Comm, ut, 63.75;  Hinrichsen Sand, ex, 241.01; Matteo Sand, ex, 4,010.14; Mitteis Gravel, ex, 532.46; Mr S’s, ex, 232.00; Nebraska Public Power, ut, 80.08; NMC Exchange, ex, 70.74; Quality Iron, ex, 57.64; Pollock Redi Mix, ex, 1,022.11
(Oakdale Area) Bomgaars, ex, 20.98; Famer’s Pride, ex, 933.45; Great Plains Comm, ut, 53.12; Kayton Inl, ex, 18.28; Mitteis Gravel, ex, 2,432.76; Mr S’s, ex, 64.50; Nebraska Public Power, ut, 38.05; Pollock Redi Mix, ex, 102.47
(Elgin Area) Beckman Lbr, ex, 9,447.05; Central Sand, ex, 230.87; Central Valley, ex, 207.89; Elkhorn Rural Public, ut, 53.59; Farmer’s Pride, ex, 1,088.10; Great Plains Comm, ut, 59.96; Hometown Station, ex, 208.91; Jerry’s Feed, ex, 16.12; NMC Exchange, ex, 991.80; Precision Repair, ex, 260.02; Sapp Brother, ex, 4,026.97; Source Gas, ut, 59.72
Reappraisal Fund: Dollar General, ex, 12.45; NE Dept of Property Assess, ex, 630.00
Register of Deeds Fund: MIPS, ex, 265.33
Building Fund: BD Gossman Construction, ex, 8,700.00; Kinnan Construction, ex, 7,305.94
General: Total Payroll, 76,428.02; Ameritas, ret 11,550.08; WH 8,533.55; Garnishment 594.00; SS 15,907.48; AFLAC, ins, 98.54;  Ameritas, ins, 2,111.95; BC/BS, ins, 51,312.32; Colonial, ins, 58.25; 1st Concord Benefits, ins, 395.00; Madison National, ins, 27.09;  Mid-American, ins, 255.00; ST 2,817.07; Washington National, ins, 399.30
Road & Bridge: Total Payroll, 45,881.65; Ameritas, ret 7,817.56; AFLAC, ins, 302.13; WH 5,784.32; Garnishment 778.40; SS 10,641.76; AFLAC, ins, 302.13; Ameritas, ins, 1,165.71; BC/BS, ins, 28,836.54; Colonial, ins, 64.80; 1st Concord Benefits, ins, 208.33; Madison National, ins, 32.48; Mid-American, ins, 150.00; ST 2,044.21; Washington National, ins, 24.90
Approved paying employee vendor claim through payroll, conference call with Pam Bourne, NIRMA attorney.
Clerk expressed concern of a taxpayers visit to her office.  Sheriff Moore addressed board regarding incident.
Pledge collateral was reviewed.
Approved Antelope Country Club liquor license.
Approved 21 underground road permits for Invenergy.
Approved an underground road permit for NCPPD.
Reviewed Sheriff’s July fee and commissary report.
Reviewed Clerk of the District Court July fee report.
Tabled Antelope County Library Association Agreements and Funds.
Tabled 2015 Inventories.
Asked for further information on Correctional Facility utility yard shed.
Approved increasing the Law Enforcement Agreement Fees for Neligh City, Oakdale, Elgin, and Orchard Villages.
Met with Jerry Berggren, Berggren Architects regarding Old Courthouse Maintenance.  Item tabled.
Met with Tod Thieman, MIPS regarding Time Clocks.  Approved purchased and implementing with a $8000.00 expense. cap
Discussed postage machine and contract.  Tabled for more information.
Approved Invenergy/Prairie Breeze Road Agreement.
Meeting Adjourned.
Antelope County Board of Supervisors
Chairman of County Board
Attest: LISA PAYNE /s/
Antelope County Clerk
PUBLISH: August 19, 2015

School Board Handles Money Matters

August 21, 2015 by lmorgan · Comments Off 

The moving of funds from one account to another was at the forefront of Thursday night’s meeting of the District #18 Board of Education.
In a meeting which lasted less than an hour, the board paid forward on utility bills; and transferred funds to a number of different accounts.
As has been customary in past years, the board approved paying forward electric and gas bills. This time around, board members unanimously approved paying $45,000 towards electric bills and another $25,000 on gas bills for the 2015/16 school year.
Transfers made during the meeting were:
• $40,000 to the school lunch fund
* $65,000 to the school activities fund
• $130,000 to the employee benefit fund
• $100,000 to the depreciation fund
Superintendent Dan Polk said money placed in the employee benefit fund could be used as part of a retirement package in future years. Last year the board offered an early retirement package to qualifying teachers, but there were no takers. It’s not clear whether or not the early retirement package will be offered this year.
On another financial matter, the board approved moving $2,500 from the EPS activities fund to a Wolfpack activities fund for the start of the school year.
Earlier in the meeting, both Polk and Principal Greg Wemhoff gave reports to the board.
Polk said work continues on preparation of the 2015/16 school budget. A major step forward in preparation of the budget will take place on Thursday when valuation figures are released by county assessors in Boone, Antelope and Wheeler Counties.
While those numbers are yet to be disclosed, Polk did say district patrons should see a substantial decrease in the tax levy due, in part, to an increase of $49,000 in state aid to education; and more than $500,000 received by the district in the form of a nameplate capacity tax from electricity generated by Prairie Breeze Wind Energy.
“We won’t need as much revenue from the property tax side,” Polk said. It’s possible, he added, that the school district might have a lower tax asking which may rank among the 10 lowest in the state.
In other remarks, Polk said the school now has a Twitter account (@ElginPublic) to provide info about school activities on a regular basis. “I think it’s a real positive thing,” he said about Twitter.
Wemhoff updated board members on extra duty assignments. He said all are the same with the exception being Michael Becker who will serve as assistant boys basketball coach. As of yet, no one has been hired to serve in the position of golf coach, replacing Jacob Sladky who held the position for a number of years.
Approximately 20 male students are out for football this year, Wemhoff said, and the number of volleyball players could be as high as 30.
A Wolfpack varsity football scrimmage will be held Saturday morning, Aug. 22, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Admission to the scrimmage will be a sports drink (Gatorade, etc.). A similar scrimmage for the volleyball team will be Monday evening, Aug. 31.
In other action:
Awards — Board members’ Steve Busteed, Robert Hoefer and Doug Jones are to receive awards from the Nebraska Association of School Boards (NASB) next month.
Signatures — Polk said all the documents involved in negotiations with the Elgin Education Association have been signed.
Software — The board approved an expenditure of approximately $2,850 for software and materials for students to use as part of a high school STEM class.
First reading — At the suggestion of the Nebraska Association of School Boards (NASB), school board members approved on first reading updates on a number of school policies dealing with such matters as digital records for meeting updates, equal opportunity employment, facilities, certificated & support employees recruitment and selection and bidding procedures.
The recommendations were made to be in response to changes in state laws made by the Nebraska Unicameral which would go into effect.
The policies would need to be read two more times before becoming part of the school’s policies.
Dates set — The next regular meeting of the school board will be Wednesday, Sept. 9, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Prior to the start of the regular meeting, public hearings will be held on the proposed 2015/16 school budget (7 p.m.) and proposed budget levy (7:15 p.m.).

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