Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

By Daniel Thompson
Editor 

Recall effort in Bushnell fails to get enough signatures

 


The recall attempt in the Village of Bushnell has failed to acquire the needed signatures to host a special election.

The recall attempt had been started by Dwayne Brackeen of Bushnell on October 22, 2013, attempting to recall Tim Nolting, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Bushnell.

The reasoning behind the recall efforts were based on allegations that Nolting had intimidated board members along with business owner Fal Calvert during his time as serving as chairman.

Brackeen only needed to get 20 valid signatures on the petition for recall in order for the Village of Bushnell to hold a special election. On December 10, Brackeen turned in a petition with 21 signatures.

However, in the process of verifying the signatures, Kimball County Clerk Cathy Sibal and Deputy Clerk Josi Morgan, found only 17 of the 21 signatures to be valid.

The process of verifying each signature is set by the Secretary of State’s office with a certain set of criteria that must be met in order for the signature to be accepted, according to Morgan.

“It is a computerized program that we go through. You check the name, address, signature, date of birth, and verify all of that. As long as most of that is the same, according to the Secretary of State, we can accept them,” Morgan said.

The four signatures that were rejected simply did not meet the necessary criteria of belonging to a registered voter.

“Three of those four was because they were not registered. The other one was due to the registration status so they weren’t correctly registered. They hadn’t completely their voter registration form,” Morgan said.

As soon as the signatures had been verified and put through the proper process, Sibal sent both a verbal and written response to Brackeen informing him that no special election would be held to recall Nolting.

For his part, Nolting is happy that the village was able to avoid the special election which would have come with an estimated cost of $3,000 to $5,000 to the residents of Bushnell.

“I’m relieved that the petition did not go through, and I’m encouraged by the number of people who came to me and said we think you’re doing a good job and glad that you’re in there and glad that this thing didn’t go through. As far as I’m concerned, it’s business as usual. We go forward, and I continue to, as Chairman of the Board, recommend that we follow the ordinances of the State of Nebraska and the Village of Bushnell,” Nolting said.

However, Notling admits that in moving forward, enforcing the ordinances and getting things done will be a slower process than some residents would like.

“That’s our plan, but we meet once a month. We don’t have any legal counsel. We can only take things one step at a time. Basically, what the board has done is say what is the biggest problem in the village right now and get it cleaned up and then go to the next,” Nolting said.

Another point of focus for Nolting is the water tower, which was recently inspected and will have to have its roof repainted in the near future.

“The inspector told us that it will probably be okay until the next inspection. If any of the paint does in fact peel and fall into the water source, it’s nontoxic, and it doesn’t crumble up. It will be a flake that will just float. The chances of anything getting into the water system is virtually nil,” Nolting said.

The next inspection will take place in three years with the cost of repainting the roof estimated at $3,000. However, Nolting said that steps must be taken now in order to ensure that those funds will be available when the time comes.

“That’ll be something that we have to plan for, and this year, our actual budget and income is almost getting close to the red line so we have to make sure we have a bit more margin than what we do. We’ll take a serious look at that and decide how we’re going to do that. Our water and sewer is our only source of revenue besides property tax,” Nolting said.

However, when considering the possibility raising water and sewer rates, Nolting states that the board will look at all options possible in order to fund the water tower project, only taking action on the rates if it is truly needed.

“We’ve realized that the majority of our population are retired people on fixed incomes, and we’re very, very cautious about raising the rates. We’re not going to do it unless we absolutely have to. I can empathize with those people that are living on a fixed income and trying to make ends meet nowadays. It’s tough,” Nolting said.

 

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