A patron of the Neligh-Oakdale district is questioning why the community is being asked to donate to a project that appears will proceed with or without their financial support.
About mid-way through Monday’s Board of Education meeting, Galen Furstenau engaged in a 10-minute question and answer session on the impending track replacement project. Neligh-Oakdale is accepting bids through Dec. 1 on the six-lane track. View bid letting request
He asked why donations were being sought if the district already had enough money for the track. Furstenau, who referenced his opposition of last year's school bond and the City of Neligh's recent annexation, said he also disagreed with the idea that asking people for money would pull the community together.
Board member Krista Schindler said additional funds are necessary for expenses outside of construction, such as hurdles and other needs now and down the road.
“The board’s going to build a track and not put the equipment on it? I don’t believe that,” Furstenau said.
Board president David Wright said some people may not donate to the track fund since the district already has the money, but he wanted to invite the community to "participate" by contributing financially.
Furstenau disagreed and said, “Pulling the community together? I don’t believe that. I was against this bond, I was against this annexation, but I am still for Neligh. Your statement is not an overall statement for everyone in this community, and it’s definitely not for me.”
He added, “We as the rural sector were picked on with this, and I don’t think anybody out there feels we’re against Neligh. We are not against Neligh. How much money do we spend in the town of Neligh. I spend more money in this town than probably part of the people sitting here with my equipment and such. So how am I against Neligh? I’m not. And I don’t want to be labeled that way anymore.”
Wright said the bond vote showed farmers were carrying too much of the load and suggested the community "step up and spend a little money to help build the track.”
Furstenau questioned how the district could commit to building a track without knowing where the money was coming from.
Wright said, “We have enough money to do it, but we also have an HVAC system that has to be addressed and other fire marshal issues that have to be addressed.”
Furstenau said, “So basically you’re telling me you’re going to build it right now.”
“That’s my inclination,” Wright said.
Bids for the track will be opened on Dec. 7 at 4 p.m. with the winning bid awarded Dec. 14.