News

August Levy Hearing & Board Meeting

August 9, 2021

August Levy Hearing & Board Meeting

Central Platte NRD’s Board Sets Lower Property Tax Levy

Lyndon Vogt, General Manager of the Central Platte Natural Resources District, reported the 2022 fiscal year budget’s general fund and sinking fund are $24.5 million, requiring $3.9 million in property taxes; a decrease of $73,396.65 from 2021. The district’s total valuation of $17,947,588,662 increased 1.667% allowing for a lower levy of 0.022196 compared to last year’s levy of 0.022982.  The Board of Directors held a public hearing on the adoption of the property tax levy prior to their August meeting and approved the resolution on Thursday.

Owners of property valued at $100,000 in the 11 counties served by Central Platte NRD will pay $22.20 in property taxes next year to support conservation benefits including flood reduction, water quality management, water use management, soil health, cost-share for producers for conservation practices, forestry, land management, recreation, and education.

OTHER ACTION/AGENDA ITEMS

-Spring and Buffalo Creeks Amendment  The board approved an amendment to increase the contract with HDR Engineering in the amount of $125,000 to develop a watershed plan and environmental assessment document (Watershed Plan-EA) for the Spring and Buffalo Creeks Watershed. The original contract was $562,300 and with the increase will now total $687,300. The Natural Resources Conservation Service will reimburse the CPNRD 100% of the costs through the Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations program.

The Spring and Buffalo Creeks Watershed Plan-EA study area is 354,658 acres, the actual project area is 266,870 acres. The land is primarily agricultural and consists of grass, pasture, and row crops. The city of Lexington is located within the study area, and the communities of Cozad and Overton are immediately adjacent. Spring and Buffalo Creeks have historically experienced flooding. Specifically, significant flooding occurred in March and July 2019 that impacted homes, businesses, infrastructure, and agricultural properties. The Watershed Plan-EA will help identify structural and non-structural alternatives to provide flood damage reduction as well as opportunities for groundwater recharge, threatened and endangered species habitat improvements, and recreation.  The EA completion date is April 2023.

-Alda Crane Viewing Site  The board approved a resolution to allow CPNRD’s general manager to sign an application for federal assistance from the Recreational Trails Program to update CPNRD’s Crane Viewing Site located two miles south of the I-80 Exit 305 near Alda, Nebraska. The funding would be used to remove the existing asphalt nature trail and replace it with an 8′-wide, 6″-thick concrete recreational trail, construct a new 1,033 SY concrete parking lot, renovate portions of the Crane Viewing platform and engineering costs.

CPNRD has been working with a team of interns from JEO Engineering to design a plan to rehabilitate the site that was built in the 1994 and is applying for a Nebraska Environmental Trust as a match-grant to assist with this project.  The NRD initiated a task force of various government and private agency representatives in 1993 to develop ideas in response to concerns about safety for local residents, farmers and crane watchers in the Central Platte valley, especially during early morning and late afternoon hours on local roads. The Task Force developed a comprehensive plan known as the Central Platte Historic, Scenic and Trails Project to be completed in phases. Approval was granted in 1994 by the Nebraska Department of Transportation under the federal Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) for Phase I of the comprehensive plan developed by the task force.  According to the grant application, the multi-year project promoted awareness of the historic importance of the Central Platte Valley as a transportation corridor dating from the early 1800s.

-Long Range Implementation Plan   Marcia Lee, Information/Education Specialist, gave an update on the district’s proposed 2021-2026 Long Range Implementation Plan. The Plan summarizes district activities including projections of financial, manpower and land right needs of the district for the next five years that is required to be updated annually under the Nebraska Natural Resources District Act.  The board will review the updates and consider action on the Plan at the September board meeting.

-Office Building/Educational Center   The Building Committee reported that the request to amendment CPNRD’s original application expanding the scope and purpose of the Upper Prairie Silver/Moores Flood Reduction Project by adding a public education facility component was approved by the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission (NRC). The financial obligation from the NRC will not exceed the current unspent fund allocation of $1,742,990.

-Voting Delegate  The board elected Deb VanMatre of Gibbon as voting delegate and Jay Richeson of Gothenburg as alternate for the Nebraska Association of Resources District’s annual conference to be held in Kearney, NE in September.

-Managers Report  Lyndon Vogt, General Manager, reported on the following:
Cease & Desist Violations  Five producers remain out of compliance with the Groundwater Quality Program.
-Michael Kelliher and William Soll both received cease and desist orders but have not been seen irrigating. Infrared photos will be reviewed this fall to decide how to proceed.
– Kurt Kuhn violated the cease-and-desist order. He has since submitted the required reports and completed the nitrogen certification test, but a court judgement is expected for violating the cease-and-desist order.
-Mike Munsterman is a repeat offender from 2020. A complaint was filed in Hall County District Court.  Munsterman has until September 8th to comply before the Court enters judgement.
-Richard Urban is a repeat offender from 2020 and violated the cease-and-desist order this summer on several occasions. A complaint was filed in Polk County District Court. A default judgment is being processed as Urban did not respond within the 30 days allowed.

Open Staff Position  CPNRD has advertised twice for a burn planning specialist position and interviewed three applicants. The position was offered to two of the applicants who have both taken different jobs. The position remains open. CPNRD is applying for a Nebraska Environmental Trust grant to assist with this position. Interested parties may contact Lyndon Vogt at (308) 385-6282 or vogt@cpnrd.org.

Platte Republican Diversion  Vogt said no decision has been made by the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources concerning the standing issue of transferring water between the Platte and Republican basins since last month’s hearing.

-Natural Resources Conservation Service  Joe Krolikowski, District Conservationist, reported that the State Conservationist position in Nebraska remains open. John Wilson has been named Nebraska new Acting State Conservationist. John was recently named Deputy State Conservationist for Arkansas NRCS and is a graduate of Alcorn State University in Lorman, Mississippi. Krolikowski said Nebraska, South Dakota and Ohio are all currently operating with Acting State Conservationists because the Regional Conservationist position, which supervises the State Conservationists for the Central Region, is also vacant.

-Nebraska Natural Resources Commission  Mick Reynolds, Middle Platte Basin Representative, reported there were 17 grant applications received for the Water Sustainability Funds with requests totaling $36 million. The Fund has $13 million to distribute. The Commission will start ranking applications.

-Cost-Share  Five applications through the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation and the Central Platte NRD
cost-share programs for brush management, underground pipeline, center pivot incentive, and well decommissioning was approved in the amount of $15,372.52.

-Staff Presentation  Kelly Cole, Administrative Assistant, and Morgan Wrich, Precision Conservation Specialist gave presentations on their staff responsibilities. Cole may be contacted at (308) 385-6282 | cole@cpnrd.org and Wrich may be contacted at (308) 325-2625 | wrich@cpnrd.org.

-Annual Water Report  Jesse Mintken, Assistant Manager, gave a summary of the 2020 annual report for water use activities in the district. CPNRD has 1,028,886 certified irrigated acres with 937,339 of the groundwater, 14,388 surface water and 177,159 co-mingled. Mintken reported there were 54 transactions of water use transfers in 2020 including 530 certified acres that were used to offset new uses.

-Upcoming Board Meetings  September 23, October 28, November 18, December 16

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