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North Platte NRD cuts budget while safeguarding district

North Platte NRD cuts budget while safeguarding district
Irrigation pivot waters some alfalfa west of Scottsbluff. KNEB/RRN Guzman

The North Platte Natural Resources District (NPNRD) Board of Directors passed its budget for the Fiscal Year 2020 with notable changes on Sept. 10, including reductions in spending for the third year in a row.  

The reductions combined with cuts in spending in the previous two fiscal years represent total reductions to the NRD of more than two million in that period of time. The district is able to make the cuts with some big-ticket goals completed and in an effort to hold the line on property taxes. 

The budget, while reduced is still one with safeguards for the district. To be able to do what is necessary but to also build some reserves, for the needs of the district in the near future.

“Just around the corner is water quality,” said John Berge, NPNRD general manager. “We have a burgeoning nitrate problem here in our district.”

The nitrate issue is something the district has been working diligently on and passed a rule recently, which will be implemented in January.

“We have nitrate levels in some parts of our district as high as 50 or 60 parts per million, which is five or six times the amount safe for drinking water,” he said. 

In an effort to keep the constituents of the district safe and run the NRD Berge said, over the years they have made some significant reductions to staff retention benefits and programs. The EPIC program, Encouraging Producer Innovation through Conservation, will be one of the programs this year, which will see fewer dollars. 

The NRD reductions in spending coupled with reductions in revenues result in a mostly flat mill levy at .049161, and additional savings will be placed in cash reserves.

 

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