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

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By Forrest Hershberger
Publisher, Sun-Telegraph 

Commissioners Discuss County Fair

County Commissioners Approve Dept. of Ag. Agreement


There are specific events that define a community, including the aroma of fresh popcorn colliding with cheesy nachos and the presence of livestock in the same area.

County fairs include a variety of entertainment and purpose from 4-H members seeking reward for their work to children and adults alike enjoying the lure of the carnival attractions.

In the June 20 meeting of the Cheyenne County commissioners, Fair Board member Kip Miller met with the commissioners to provide an update on the annual fair.

“Finding a carnival is hard,” Miller said.

He said the board was unable to contract a carnival this year. He added carnivals are a big part of what attracts people to a fair; no carnival, no people.

“I just believe that,” he said.

He said the $37,000 for a rodeo “is way out of whack.” He said last year's rodeo cost about $25,500. Commissioner Phil Sanders suggested the Fair Board research “ranch rodeos.”

Miller said he would like to see more activities throughout fair week.

“There's no reason we can't have three to four nights (of activities),” he said.

The 2022 Cheyenne County Fair is scheduled for July 23-30. This year's rodeo will include a rodeo and a free concert and brisket dinner.

Emily Thomas, representing the Cheyenne County Chamber of Commerce, updated the commissioners on the Chamber's leadership program. In her overview, she said the program includes hearing from community organizations, working with a leadership coach and each class taking on a project.

“This year, they did a non-profit fair,” Thomas said.

The fair was held at the Elks Lodge with about 30 organizations represented. The event was an opportunity for organizations to explain who they are and what they do, and to garner monetary support at their booth and through a silent auction.

Cost of the leadership class is $550 for Chamber members and $650 for non-members. Thomas said the Chamber is working with an organization to provide some scholarships for the next class.

What do you do when you have a system that works, but if it should need repairs, many replacement parts are no longer in production? That is the question facing the commissioners. Buildings and Grounds superintendent Tom Payne met with the commissioners regarding the HVAC system at the courthouse.

“It runs great. The problem is all the electronics. They don't make them anymore,” Payne said.

The chiller and the air conditioner cost more than $300,000 each; both are about the same age, according to Payne. Commissioner Randy Miller asked about using American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds for the work. County Clerk Beth Fiegenschuh said the county has received about $1.7 million in ARP funds.

According to the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), “Investment in critical infrastructure is particularly well suited use of ARPA funds because it is a non-recurring expenditure that can be targeted to strategically important long- term assets that provide benefits over many years. However, care should be taken to assess any on-going operating costs that may be associated with the project.”

The commissioners also met with Matt Anderson, representing the USDA, regarding the annual contract with the county.

Much of the discussion centered on prairie dog management. Anderson said he recorded 325 hours in the county in 2021.

“Quite a few were prairie dog calls,” he said. “This year I think we are going to end up do a lot more.”

In recent discussions, funding of the USDA partnership has been of concern. Anderson said Nebraska Senators Tom Brewer and Steve Erdman are working to get the program more funding. The agreement includes a 25 percent increase in the county's fee, from $9,421.92 for 2021-2022, to $11,770 for 2022-2023. He said Banner and Kimball Counties have approved the service with the 25 percent increase, with no change in service.

The commissioners also approved in increase in mileage reimbursement rate from .585 cents per mile to .625 cents per mile, effective July 1.

The commissioners also approved an application for burial assistance for Timothy Buechler.


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