Joe Hewgley was elected chairman of the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners Monday and Bill Henry was elected vice-chair.

The election of officers was the first action at the first full meeting of the new county board.

Kent Weems, who was elected to the board in November, took a seat at the table for the first time since he was sworn in Jan. 3.

He joined Walt Johnson and Jerry Woodruff, who took their seats in December. Johnson and Woodruff were appointed to the board to comply with voters’ wishes to expand the board from three to five commissioners.

Hewgley and Henry are the senior members of the board. Hewgley is the most experienced, having served on the board for 30 years. Henry is starting his second four-year term.

After that, Hewgley and Henry spent time explaining routine procedures to the new commissioners.

Non-profit groups, such as churches and the hospital, ask that their motor vehicles be exempt from property taxes because they are used for charitable purposes.

Most weeks, the board reviews a few such requests shortly after the meeting starts. On Monday, they reviewed two claims, one from Goodwill Industries and one from the Salvation Army.

Walt Johnson voted no on the claim to exempt an Impala sedan for Goodwill Industries. He said the sedan sounded like a personal vehicle, as opposed to a van to haul items. The vote was 4-1.

The board voted 5-0 to exempt a refrigerated trailer for the Salvation Army.


Attracting visitors

In other business, the board authorized the Lincoln County Visitors Bureau to spend $20,249 to print new color, glossy brochures and rack cards advertising the tourist attractions of the county.

Meyer Creative of North Platte submitted the low bid for the print job. It was about $1,600 less than a bid by Pro Printing of North Platte and about $4,000 less than Maly Marketing of Lincoln.

Hewgley said he hoped the commissioners would stay with the low bidder, noting it is a local company.

Visitor’s Bureau Executive Director Lisa Burke said nearly 100,000 rack cards will be printed, mostly for hotels and motels in Nebraska and neighboring states.

And, about 70,000 brochures will be printed. Many of the brochures are distributed to restaurants and other stops in Lincoln County, as well as to neighboring states and at the Denver Stock Show, Burke said.

Burke said the brochures will have a simple map inside of North Platte’s major attractions and hotels. That will replace a table of maps that has been used in the past.

Johnson said he is “not impressed with the photo on the front” of the brochures, referring to the picture of a young Buffalo Bill Cody sitting backwards on a horse.

“It’s not who I feel we are,” Johnson said.

Burke replied that the advertising theme is “not aimed at us” but at younger people. She said it has done really well in bringing visitors.

Weems said he is not a fan of the picture either.

Burke offered to meet with Johnson and Weems and go over the results of the campaign.

The board unanimously agreed to award the print job to Meyer Creative.