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

Commissioners approve new shuttle bus, golf course liquor license

 


The Kimball County Commissioners on Tuesday approved the purchase of a new shuttle bus for the county.

Under the agreement, the county will pay just over $10,000 and the federal government will pay more than $41,000 for the bus. Erika Loy, county shuttle coordinator, said the commissioners budgeted $15,000 for a new bus in the current year’s budget, so no additional funds are needed. The new bus is expected to be in place by July.

Loy said the current bus needs minor repairs at this point, including work on the lift, new tires and a new U-joint. After that, the bus should be “back up to par,” she said.

The commissioners also approved a Class A Liquor License for Four Winds Golf Course under Chad Wise. Wise applied for the license as CW Golf Management, LLC.

Wise managed the golf course pro shop for years under a different agreement, until this fall when the Internal Revenue Service mandated that it be operated under an individual contractor. Wise now runs the pro shop in that fashion, and applied for the liquor license as owner and manager of his own company.

“I’ve been here a little over eight years. I was told I had to manage the liquor license after my first year. I’ve been doing it since,” he said. “Because of what happened with the golf pro and the golf course, I had to file for my own LLC (limited liability corporation). Because of that, I had to apply for my own liquor license, because I could not run a liquor license with my company. I have to be the owner and manager.”

Under the previous liquor license, patrons were allowed to bring alcohol onto the golf course and had to consume all the alcohol they brought with them. That will no longer be the case. All alcohol must now be purchased on site. Patrons may also take alcohol that is bought there with them, but only if it is unopened.

“The problem is, in years past, you could bring it on. The hard part is that if a person brought a cooler, and lets say they brought five beers and only drank four of them, they can’t leave with that fifth one. They had to dump it,” Wise said. “I’m not in favor of them having to down it and go home, so you make them dump it. It’s really hard to manage it that way. If we’re selling it, we can control it better, because we know how many a person’s had. It’s a lot easier that way.”

Only beer and drinks such as Mike’s Hard Lemonade will be sold. Wine and hard liquor will not be sold there, Wise said.

Wise said he took an online course prior to the commissioners granting the license. He added that the state fire marshal was due to inspect the area on Wednesday.

An energy element for the county’s comprehensive plan was also adopted Tuesday. The 16-page document includes sections on oil, natural gas, wind and other means of energy. The energy element of the comprehensive plan was required by a state law passed in 2010.

Kimball County is one of only 18 counties in the state that produces oil, and was the second-leading producer statewide in 2012. Kimball County produced 548,702 barrels of oil that year, trailing only Hitchcock County in oil production. Kimball County’s total in 2012 was over 20 percent of all oil produced in the state. While Kimball County remains among the state’s largest oil producers, it has been in decline for over 20 years. In 1991, Kimball County produced almost 1.4 million barrels of oil, more than double the current oil production here.

Electrical consumption has also shown a slight increase from 2008 to 2013. There was a large spike in electrical consumption in 2012, mainly due to irrigation needs. Electrical consumption in that category went from almost 18 million kilowatts in 2011, to just over 29 million kilowatts in 2012, and back down to just over 19 million kilowatts in 2013. The 2012 figure was much higher due to extreme drought.

Commercial/industrial electrical consumption has decreased more than 15 percent from 2008 to 2013, according to the report. Residential usage also showed an increase in that time of just over 13 percent. The total increase in all five sectors from 2008 to 2013 was 5.56 percent, according to the report.

Goals of the report include increasing energy efficiency for buildings in the county, increasing the amount of renewable energy generated in the county, and reducing energy consumption for county operations.

The commissioners also:

- Adopted a substance abuse policy for the Kimball County shuttle.

- Approved applications for conditional use permits for High West Energy to place communication towers at substations at the corner of county roads 52 and 69 northeast of Dix, and at the corner of county roads 28 and 59 south of Dix.

- Approved a proclamation for National Ag Week, which will be held March 15-21.

- Approved the purchase of $15,000 in culverts with federal buy-back funds.

- Set a public hearing for 10 a.m. on March 17 for a request from Pine Bluffs Gravel and Excavating, Inc., for mining of minerals north of Bushnell.

 

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