Commissioners approve liquor license for fair, discuss use of ARPA funds
July 6, 2023
CHEYENNE COUNTY – During its second regularly scheduled meeting of the month, the Cheyenne County Commissioners approved the Cheyenne County Fair Board's request to approve a liquor license and discussed using some of its remaining American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funds.
Cheyenne County Commissioner Chairman Darrell Johnson, Vice Chairman Philip Sanders and Commissioner Randal Miller heard from Cheyenne County Fair Board Member Ryan Filsinger regarding its request for a Special Designated Liquor (SDL) License for its beer garden later this month.
Commissioners were concerned about the type of fencing being used to section off the beer garden based off of a map they were presented with. Commissioners asked Filsinger if double fencing was needed, however, Filsinger responded that pursuant of 013.03F of the Rules and Regulations Chapter two, section 013 regarding the SDL, “a double fencing is not required if attendees do not have access to property adjacent to any portion of the licensed area.”
Getting the license approved by county commissioners is just the next step in state requirements for the fair board – the approved county application must be sent to the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission (NLCC) to its SDL department to be finalized and approved.
According to the NLCC Director, it could take some time for her department to finalize and approve the license, or as quick as two weeks. She said it depended on the number of requests which come in between then and the date of the event. She further explained her department looks to ensure the organization is following safety regulations in its plan, such as requiring a set number of security personnel for every 200 event-goers at the beer garden. NLCC said the most common violation, which can prevent an organization from being able to seek SDL's in the future, is not following safety protocols, such as the requirement of safety personnel from local law enforcement agencies.
After some discussion related to safety and security regulations, the commissioners approved the fair board’s request.
County Commissioners heard from Cheyenne County Veterans Service Officer Fred Wiedeburg, who gave a brief update about activities, programs and other services his office is working on.
Cheyenne County Tourism Director Kendra Mitchell presented an application for an improvement grant from the Cheyenne County Historical Association for $1,000 to be used for painting supplies to update the two signs located on Highway 30.
After a brief discussion, the commissioners agreed to approve the $1,000 grant.
The board went into a Board of Equalization in which the board heard about Money Express vs. Cheyenne County Board of Equalization which was pending before the Nebraska Tax Equalization and Review Commission.
Cheyenne County Attorney Paul Schaub recommended a strategy session be held in executive session to discuss pending litigation. In which the board briefly went into executive session.
Cheyenne County Emergency Communications Center Director Heidi Gillespie addressed the board regarding the purchase of a radio console upgrade.
According to Gillespie, the current radio console is outdated and no longer able to be updated, which required the county to upgrade its systems. The total amount of the purchase for a Motorola radio console is $401,701.00 which is funded by Cheyenne County, City of Sidney and Deuel County.
According to the county, $150,000.00 will be paid from the wireless surcharge funds, of which the remaining balance of $251,701.00 will be split three ways. Cheyenne County will pay 32.92%, or $82,859.97; City of Sidney will pay 61.08%, or $153,738.97; and Deuel County will pay 6%, or $15,102.06 of the remainder. The City of Sidney approved the same breakdown at its regularly scheduled meeting on June 27. Both entities explained how the percentages will change the next time they renew the two year contract, which will increase Deuel County's percentage to 10% based on population usage.
The approval of the purchase by the Cheyenne County Commissioners enabled the purchase to be finalized due to City of Sidney and Deuel County already approving the purchases at their meetings earlier in the meeting.
According to Schaub, competitive bidding was not necessary due to the console being purchased on a state bid.
Additionally, Schaub further explained American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds could be utilized for this purchase. After discussion with the emergency manager, commissioners approved the purchase using the ARPA funds; all three commissioners unanimously approved the motion.
The communications Center is no longer dispatching for the City Handibus – this decreases the number of calls dispatched for the City of Sidney. Sidney is no longer receiving grant money to subsidize the bus and experiencing a loss of revenue.
Prior to the agreement changes between Cheyenne County, Deuel County and City of Sidney, each municipality was paying the following percentages:
Cheyenne County increased from 32.92% to 35%;
City of Sidney decreased from 61.08% to 55%; and
Deuel County increased from 6% to 10%.
The county and city both approved the changes based on population usage of services and Deuel County will remain a non-voting member for the time.
Cheyenne County Highway Superintendent Doug Hart briefly gave commissioners an update regarding current road conditions and projects.
The commissioners than held an emergency meeting to approve the intergovernmental contract between Morrill County Community Hospital (MCCH) and City of Sidney regarding ambulatory services the following week. A separate Sun-Telegraph story detailed those meetings in the previous issue.