Board discusses bonds, corn stalks

During the county board’s regularly-scheduled meeting on June 9,  Brad Slaughter with Americas Investment Corp., presented information to the supervisors about potential savings that could occur if the current 2010 Build America Bonds for the Fillmore County Hospital were called and then reissued.

Slaughter told the supervisors the county board has the legal authority to move the Build America Bonds to tax-exempt general obligation bonds.  At current interest rates, which could be as low as 2.817 percent, even with the subsidy involved with the Build America Bonds, Slaughter said the savings could be $136,915.61 over the bond’s 16 years.
The county board will address the issue again on June 23.
Also on June 9, the supervisors fielded budget requests from Jared Fullerton, concerning the contract for animal and plant health inspection services with the USDA wildlife program and Carmen Hinman with the Hope Crisis Center. Fillmore County Highway Superintendent Pat Halbur also updated the supervisors on clean-up following the severe storms and excessive rain experienced during the first part of June.
Fillmore County Board Chairman Larry Cerny said he had driven a lot of miles of county road recently and felt they stood up fairly well.  Supervisor Merle Noel agreed.
“I also drove a lot of roads and there’s not much you can do with a nine-inch rain like this,” Noel said.
“Mother Nature claimed a lot of land this time…but just wait, it will come back and they will be able to farm it again,” Supervisor Jerry Galusha said.
At its May 26 meeting, the Fillmore County Board voted 7-0 to approve Fillmore County to become a “Community Partner” with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).  Fillmore County Zoning Administrator Jennifer Slezak, who also oversees the Fillmore County East Office Building, will serve in this roll.
“She will try this on a trial run,” Fillmore County Supervisor Susan Johnson said.  “Keep track of all the time you spend with this…thank you for your willingness with this.”
The supervisors also noted they will review how the program is going on January 1, 2016.  County planning and zoning questions will be first priority for Slezak.
“My stress point is HHS should already be doing this,” Noel said.
Also on May 26, Robert Wulf called attention to the amount of cornstalks in the road ditch between Sections 13 and 14, Belle Prairie Township.  Wulf said a county-placed culvert near his pasture is causing it to become flooded.  Without some attention, Wulf said he will no longer have a pasture.
Halbur and Cerny warned the county board that if they start the process of cleaning out cornstalks in one location to relieve drainage, they will have to begin doing the same thing in multiple locations.
“Corn stalks are a major, major issue,” Halbur said.  “But, if we start cleaning this one out because of corn stalks, we will be doing it for many, many people.”
“The farming situation…the way things have changed farming—that’s what is causing this,” Supervisor Bob Mueller said.  “We have grief all over.”
The additional rains after the initial 7-9 inches will only serve to compound the problems.
“If we start doing this, we are going to start cleaning stalks all summer long,” Cerny said.
After a lengthy discussion, the supervisors instructed Halbur to have the county engineers look at the location and help determine what the exact drainage dynamics are.
Also on May 26, the county board voted 6-1 (Noel—no) to contract with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska for health insurance beginning on July 1, and to start paying 50 percent of the employee/children, employee/spouse and family insurance coverage.
Also last month, Fillmore County Assessor Lynn Mussman releases assessment ratios that were reviewed by the Nebraska Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC).  TERC determined the following assessment-sales median ratios for Fillmore County:  Residential, 98 percent; Commercial, 99 percent; and Agricultural, 70 percent.

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