Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Wildlife Specialist Job Could Be Cut

Dry Conditions Affect County Highway Dept.

With cost-share federal funds eliminated from the USDA Wildlife Specialists budget, Kimball County and other area counties are looking at a price increase or the loss of the wildlife specialist.

Five counties help fund the costs for specialist Matt Anderson, and according to Jerry Feist, Nebraska District supervisor, no federal funds will be available. Feist told the Kimball County Commissioners on Tuesday that it used to be a 50/50 cost share but no more.

Matt Anderson has worked the past 13 years for the USDA, trapping coyotes, raccoons, prairie dogs, skunks, red fox, and numerous other raptor species for farmers and ranchers in the five counties. The commissioners made no decision, although a decision will soon have to be made to manage the issue.

In other county business, Randy Bymer, the county highway superintendent, reported that his department has been blading and hired a new employee.

He informed the commissioners that it is so dry that they will be doing some bridge maintenance.

A motor grader in Bushnell needs some repairs, such as a long block costing an estimated $26,313, so Bymer has investigated other alternatives, such as a John Deere 2015 770G grader with a little over 5,000 hours to replace the grader needing the long block. There was minimal discussion, and no decision was made.

Budget meetings were to start Aug. 18, and the issue was expected to be addressed at that time.

Don Lease, an outreach worker for Nebraska Strong, told the commissioners that Nebraska Strong will be funded through the end of this year. This organization exists due to a FEMA grant to help connect people with resources during the COVID crisis.

Lease is a local rancher in Banner County, and he had plans for a meeting in September with several “experts” to discuss range recover, fire presentation, and other topics.

Kimball County Treasurer Cindy Rahmig presented the 2020 distress warrants, which were verified by the County Sheriff. Rahming also discussed the reporting method of the almost $800,000 that the county will receive from the American Rescue Plan Act.

The president of the Plains Historical Museum, Tim Nolting, invited the commissioners to the opening of the Smithsonian display on Sept. 11 at 9 a.m. He discussed the events taking place during the time the exhibit will be here.

The following dates are set aside for the County Budget Worship Meetings – Aug. 18, 19, 20, 23, 24 (as needed), beginning at 10 a.m.

The next regular commissioners meeting will be on Tuesday, Sept. 7.