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Middle Republican NRD sets budget

Thursday, September 16, 2010

CURTIS, Nebraska -- The Middle Republican NRD has adopted its fiscal year 2010-11 annual budget during its regular board meeting in Curtis.

The general fund budget of $5,222,020 includes more than $2 million in federal funds to be used in the repair of two flood control structures and $1,500,000 in new occupation tax. No property taxes are included in this budget. Funds that have been held in escrow from the LB 701 taxes levied in 2007-08 at a tax rate of just over 4.7 cents, will be returned to the taxpayers by not levying a property tax for this year. The levy rate for the 2009-10 tax year was just over 5.7 cents. At the budget hearing held before the regular board meeting, a presentation of the proposed budget was made by Dan Smith, manager of the district. No other testimony was offered and no comments from the public were received.

Work continues on two flood control dams that were damaged in 2007 and 2008. Work is nearly completed on site 80a north of Maywood and work has started on site 32a on the Hayes Hitchcock County line north of Culbertson.

Soil Settlement problems on those dams have had extensive geologic investigation during this summer in hopes of determining why the problems occurred. The information found during these investigations will be used to determine if other structures require repair and the process to be used if that repair is needed. The district owns and maintains 34 flood control structures throughout the district.

Recertification of irrigated acres continues and landowners are encouraged to make a thorough review of any paperwork received from the NRD. These recertified acres will help identify irrigated uses for both the NRD and the counties and refine the data used for levying the occupation tax.

The board reviewed proposed rules and regulations for implementing the newly adopted revisions to the Integrated Management Plan.

The revised IMP was adopted by the Board at the Aug. 2 meeting and the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources accepted the plan following that meeting. These rules will establish the steps needed in a compact call year and will allow the board to consider management actions that have been taken or can be implemented in a compact call year to prevent having to impose a shutdown of acres in any area.

Once management actions are in place the district can make adjustments to the allocations in a compact call year that are uniform across the district. The order adopting the Integrated Management Plan will be published over the next 30 days and the plan will have an effective date of Nov. 1, 2010. Committee work and board review will continue on the rules and regulations with the intent of holding a hearing in November for their consideration.

The board heard reports from Jason Kennedy, NRCS district Conservationist, Roger Stockton, RC&D Coordinator, Roger Lawson, Information and Education Specialist and Bob Merrigan, Assistant Manager. Smith reported that Nate Jenkins recently hired by the Upper Republican NRD will take over administrative responsibilities for the Republican River Basin Coalition. The Tri-Basin NRD in Holdrege has asked for membership in the Coalition. It is planned to accept that request for membership at the Coalition's quarterly meeting on November 17th at Curtis Nebraska.

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