The Scotts Bluff County Farm Bureau held its Candidate Forum Tuesday, April 24, at the Gering Civic Center. The public was invited to hear from each candidate on a variety of issues.
Among the candidates at the event were the North Platte NRD Sub-district 1 candidates, Ryan Reuter, Trevor Schneider, Joshua Smith and Sam Summerville. Steve Dolberg was unable to attend the forum.
Each candidate was given time to talk about their background and the skills they would bring to the seat if elected.
Among the issues discussed at the forum included the NRD being able to meet its mandates, with budget cuts, and the bill LB98 dying in this past legislative session.
Summerville said, there are always programs, where money is being thrown at them and they are doing nothing.
“You can always keep looking for funding and somewhere you will find some,” he said.
LB98 was a bill to extend the NRDs special taxing authority of a three-cent tax to 2025-26 fiscal year. The tax wasn’t always used, but was there for the NRD if needed.
“The NRD over the past couple of years has been looking at the economic downturn,” Reuter said. “It has been trying to cut the budget as much as they can and if you look at your taxes the NRDs asking from you has actually gone down.”
The NRD has cut $700,000 out of its budget and does go out looking for funding in grants and the private sector.
The forum also asked the candidates about forming partnerships with businesses, municipalities and other organizations.
“One of the important partnerships the NRD has right now is with schools and students,” said Schneider. “It’s really important for the next generation of students to understand how groundwater works in our area.”
Smith agreed with Schneider and the other candidates, on the NRD working with others.
“We already work with some NRDs and I think it’s important we get along with our neighbors downstream and work on more together,” he said.
The North Platte NRD Sub-district 1 seat is currently held by Ryan Reuter. He was appointed to the seat in March after Jerry Dillman passed away in January.
The seat is “At-large” so everyone can vote for two of the five candidates in the Primary Election. The final candidate will represent Southern Sioux County and the area north of the North Platte River area, except for the City of Scottsbluff.
The forum was broken into two sessions with the county commissioner candidates in the second half of the forum. The event was moderated by Jay Ferris from the Nebraska Farm Bureau.
The Primary Election will be held May 15, and the top two NRD candidates from the election will move onto the General Election Nov. 6.
To watch the entire candidate forum on video visit kneb.com and scroll down to KNEB.tv Videos