Heartlandbeat.com July Editorial by Bill Bamesberger York County Commissioner District 3
Representing District 3 on the York County Board of Commissioners has been a challenging and rewarding experience. I was elected in the 2010 primary and began my four year term in January of 2011. I serve on various committees such as security, Veterans Affairs, Blue Valley Community Action, Region V, Union negotiations, buildings and grounds and the roads liaison to the board.
In the next 30 days one other commissioner and myself will be formulating and preparing the 2011-2012 county budget. This will be a challenge knowing that York County lost $26,000 in state aid and medical insurance premiums for county employers went up $34,000.
York County has a valuation of $1.78 billion dollars. With all funds combined it takes about $14 million dollars to operate the county for one year. Approximately $4 million comes from property taxes. The county is under a budget lid bill where taxes can only increase 2 1/2% with a majority vote of the board or 3 1/2% with a super majority vote.
There are five individuals who serve on the York County Board. They are Kurt Bulgrin-Chairman; Pat Bredenkamp-Vice Chairman and other members Paul Buller, Tom Shellington and myself. I feel that each commissioner represents their district in a dedicated and professional manner. We work well together even though we don’t always agree, we seem to always compromise and render fair decisions. It is interesting working with different people who have different backgrounds and ethnic traits.
Here are some statistics about York County. York County is 576 square miles in size. We have a population of 13,969 and we have approximately 1100 miles of roads. There are nine communities in York County. They are York, Henderson, Bradshaw, McCool Junction, Lushton, Thayer, Waco, Benedict and Gresham. There are approximately 250 state bridges in the county. State bridges are bridges that are more than 20’ in length. There are another 500 shorter bridges, culverts, box culverts and tubes.
Some of the bigger issues that have come before the board since January have been courthouse security and the Keystone XL Pipeline. There have been opinions both pro and con as to how much security we can or cannot impose to protect the courthouse. The general consensus from the public survey was not to spend more funds for courthouse security. We feel we can increase security without spending additional funds, mainly on the second floor where the courts reside.
The Keystone XL Pipeline is challenging for all counties involved. We know we cannot stop the project but we can impose some regulations. We can regulate as to which roads they can drive during construction and also that they have to return all roads to their original state as before construction. We will follow this project closely and do the best we can to protect both the citizens of York County and the environment.
Efforts have been made to adequately maintain the county roads system. We are always striving to improve the roads and keep them safe.
We are putting forth effort to constantly recruit, entice and promote business and industrial development in York County.
I think one of my priorities since elected is to promote communication. Through experience, I have found out if we can all communicate with one another, all things will happen in a more productive and positive manner. It is my objective to maintain an open line of communication among the citizens of York County, all of my fellow commissioners, all department heads and all county employees.
I accept the challenge of this position and look forward to serving all citizens of York County, and in particular, the people of District 3.
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