County commissioners approve property use change for old MRK truck wash site

The old MRK truck wash, now owned by Innovative Ag Group, was approved for ag storage.

LEXINGTON — The Dawson County Commissioners approved a conditional use permit made by Innovative Ag Group to change the site of the old MRK truck wash from business use to agricultural storage.

Zoning Administrator Pam Holbrook said the planning commission approved the permit and forwarded it to the commissioners, there was no opposition from the public to the change, she said.

Steve Renken represented Innovative Ag Group and said the site would be used for dry fulvic acid product storage. The acid is a naturally occurring soil acid and it enhances cell division, promotes microbial growth and magnifies root growth. It can also improve moisture storage. Its use can help significantly cut fertilizer use, Renken said.

“I couldn’t ask for a better building,” said Renken. Chairman Bill Stewart said the change to storage would provide a good use for the building. The site is on road 753, a mile east of Lauby Cattle.

Local funeral directors, Nick Reynolds with Reynolds Love Funeral Home and Tim Strauser with Blase-Strauser Memorial Chapels and Monuments, appeared before the commissioners about county burial reimbursement costs.

Reynolds said in a phone call Monday these costs are related to burials the funeral homes perform for the county, such as a deceased jail inmate or people in the county with no assets.

The directors said the current reimbursement stands at $1,425 and has been this way since the mid-1980s. 

The directors were also requesting they limit their burial options to cremation only. Up to now, people could request a full burial but not have the funds to pay for this, this difference comes out of the funeral home’s pockets. Cremation only will help negate high costs for the funeral homes when funds are insufficient.

The directors requested the cremation change and an increase of reimbursement to $2,500 to better reflect the increased costs to the funeral homes. The commissioners approved the both requests.

Highway Superintendent Mark Christiansen said during committee comments the initial road situation after the flooding was not as bad as feared. He said the roads were firm and the most damage was done on hillsides during the rain. He said some culverts will have to be backfilled. The total extent of the damage will become clear in the next week or two, Christiansen said.

Dawson County Emergency Manager Brian Woldt said there are now two disaster declarations from Dawson County to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the one in March and now the recent one from July.

At this point, personal property damage isn’t covered by FEMA funds, but efforts are being made to change this. Woldt said the project scopes are already written and will be sent to FEMA.

Dawson County and Alfred Benesch and Company entered into scoping phase for the future replacement of the canal bridge located on Road 754. Improvements are being planned for the bridge located on Road 754 west of Clayton Yeutter Highway. Central Nebraska Public Power District wants to make improvements to the bridge as it is on their list of bridge projects.

Dawson County Sheriff Ken Moody presented the monthly crime report, he said it has been a rough period for the county given accidents which have occurred and the flooding. He said there has been a rise in calls for service, owing to the floods.

The jail population is fuller at an average of 105, contract inmates continue to make up a large majority of the population.

Holbrook presented changes to zoning fees. Updates include $50 for a single family home, $30 for agricultural structures, $75 for after the fact permits, $300 for a variance, $300 for both conditional use permits and re-zone permits plus the costs of publication and mailings.

County Attorney Jared Dean said the increase in variance cost is to keep people from abusing the variance option for a property, but not gouging people who actually need a variance.

The commissioners approved the new zoning fees.

The commissioners also approved Steve Zerr the authority to search for a new veteran service manager board member. Discussion about the appointment had been tabled during an earlier meeting.

In other news the commissioners,

-Received second quarter PTO reports.

- Approved an annual EMP grant, presented by Emergency Manager Woldt.

- Approved board value change notices from June 29 to July 14.

- Approved tax exemption for a Community Action Partnership of Mid-Nebraska 2019 Ford Escape.

- Tabled discussion about exempt property returning to the tax roll and reports of destroyed property until the July 25 meeting.

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