The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

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By Forrest Hershberger
Publisher, Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

County Renews USDA Contract

Kimball County Transit Denied Funding


The annual contract with the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection was approved by the Cheyenne County Commissioners.

The contract, at $9,421.22, reflects a 5 percent increase in cost.

Much of the discussion with Wildlife Specialist Matt Anderson focused on responding to prairie dog infestations. Prairie dog colonies are known to endanger livestock, and spread the bubonic plague. Anderson said the agency is looking at employing a part-time position solely for prairie dog eradication. To do it will take the support of all five counties in the area. The proposal is for each county to commit $3,000 to $4,000.

Commissioner Phil Sanders expressed concern of what will happen if the other counties won't support the proposal. Anderson said the proposal is not an “all or none.” Only those counties who support the position will receive service.

According to discussion, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture began funding a prairie dog program in the 1980s with about $300,000, then stopped. The commissioners were also told the Federal funding has not been cut. Actually, funding has remained stable. The department had operated in the negative, and this year officials were told “that ends.”

The commissioners also met with Christy Warner, representing the Kimball County Transit Service.

“I wanted to stop by and let you guys know what we're doing in Cheyenne County,” Warner said.

She said the service provides transportation to businesses in Sidney, as well as to medical appointments. She said the transit service also provides transport service from regional hospitals to the patient's home.

She added a survey was sent to the villages served by the transit service. Questions included if residents heard of the service, aware the service is available in Cheyenne County, door-to-door service and a question about funding.

When asked by the commissioners how the program is funded, she said “it can come from multiple sources.”

She said she has received phone calls from people unaware the program serves Cheyenne County.

Commissioners Sanders and Randy Miller said they were offended by a question on the survey. Miller said he is in favor of the program, but not the funding method.

“I think the program's very good,” Miller said. “It's the money.”

The commissioners also approved a $4,000 tourism grant for Potter Carbowl.

“Carbowl is the event I hold up above all others. They know how to market,” Tourism Director Kevin Howard said.

The grant is $1,000 higher than last year, with the increase budgeted for videography to promote the 2022 event using 2021 media.

Commissioner Sanders encouraged the tourism committee to continue following the guidelines for funding.

“If we're going to have guidelines, we have to follow them,” he said.

The commissioners also approved a special designated liquor license for Marcie Schumacher, approved county assistance for burial funds up to $1,365.01 on behalf of Anthony Tafolla, met as the Board of Equalization with County Assessor Melody Keller and returned as the board of commissioners to approve the assessor's three-year plan before receiving the road activities report from Highway Superintendent Doug Hart.


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