CURTIS, Nebraska -- The Middle Republican Natural Resources District board was reorganized after the swearing in ceremony that installed the newly elected members and two incumbents, Kevin Fornoff and Brad Randel. New members are Steve Cappel, Bill Hoyt, John Palic and Blaine Stinson.
Kevin Fornoff and Buck Haag were nominated for chairman of the board, and Haag won the election, 8-3. Kevin Fornoff and James Uerling were nominated for vice-chairman, and Uerling won the election, 6-5. Rick Spencer and John Palic were nominated for treasurer, and Spencer won the election, 8-3.
The committee elections selected representatives for the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts, the Nebraska Republican River Management District Association, and created a Groundwater Committee. The NARD nominations drew some discussion as Joe Anderjaska and Uerling were both nominated.
Anderjaska, who has served on the NARD for six years and on the MRNRD board for eight of the past 10 years, wanted a spoken vote instead of a secret ballot for the NARD.
Uerling chose not to decline the nomination.
"I have spent a long time on the [NARD] board. I haven't done anything to hurt our district and I am up for nomination of NARD president. This would be a great thing for [our district]," said Anderjaska before the board voted on whether to have a secret ballot or verbal vote.
The board voted, 8-3, against a verbal vote. Cappel, Haag, Hoyt, Rick McConville, Palic, Spencer, Stinson, and Uerling all voted for a secret ballot. Anderjaska won the vote, 7-4, to again represent the MRNRD on the NARD board.
The RRMDA representative received three nominations; Fornoff, the former delegate, Hoyt and Randel. Randel chose to step down to give a new member a chance to be a representative. Haag appointed Hoyt as the delegate, and Fornoff will serve as alternate.
The Groundwater Committee had six nominations for five positions as Cappel, Fornoff, McConville, Randel, Spencer, and Uerling were nominated. The top five vote getters, in alphabetical order, were Cappel, McConville, Randel, Spencer and Uerling.
The Personnel Committee, which holds meetings with staff members to help set the budget and other various tasks, had only two nominations for three positions. Hoyt and Stinson were the two nominees and are a part of the committee. A third member will be determined at a later date based on availability of time.
The board also heard from Chris Miller of Miller and Associates, on augmentation plans for the entire Republican River Basin.
The plan, in its preliminary stages, involved three different options across all three districts. Two of the options would require the district to purchase wells from other districts, and the third would bring in treated water from cooling ponds near Hastings, Nebraska. The Hastings option would bring in approximately half as much water as the other two plans, but doesn't require purchasing wells like the other two plans, which are more expensive.
The board voted unanimously to give $150 an acre per year to the NRCS for retirement of acres. Hoyt made a motion to raise the amount to $200, but it died for a lack of a second.
During the open forum, several people asked about whether the board had ever considered electing board members by district.
Haag and Uerling, along with other board members and assistant district manager Robert Merrigan made the point that lines would be drawn according to population and not on irrigated lands, meaning that there possibly would be seven sub-districts in McCook and the other areas would get the remaining four sub-districts.
Most of the board members reiterated that they would rather give interested parties the chance to run rather than have sub-districts that could have no willing representatives.