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Masterton brings experience from District V
October 09, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis
Mark Masterton brings years of institutional memory and experience to his run for re-election to the Scotts Bluff County Board of Commissioners.

Masterton, running unopposed, has served as the District V Commissioner since 1992 and has been the county board chairman for the past 18 years.

He said taxes are always the top issue his constituents share with him. “It costs the same amount of money to run a county regardless of the population,” he said. “So the less population we have, the more it’s going to cost people. That’s why we need to do all we can for economic development.”

The biggest budget item for the county is now the detention center. “The major contributor is that property crime is skyrocketing in the county,” Masterton said. “Statistics show we’re the worst in the state for personal property crime.”

Masterton said when the 188-bed detention center was built six years ago; it was expected to last at least 18 years. The facility was filled to capacity within bout three years.

“I don’t know where we’d be if we didn’t build,” he said. “If we were still in a 64-bed jail, it would be costing us a fortune to send those prisoners somewhere else.”

He added that better jobs and better education could go a long way toward remedying those problems.

“These problems aren’t just the county’s,” Masterton said. “All of us are interdependent on each other for our success. There are some things the county can affect, but others where we simply need to help other entities.”

To accomplish that, he said consolidation of services among municipalities is necessary to hold down taxes.
Another major concern is the condition of the county’s roads and bridges. “Just recently we bonded a road for $1.9 million for 20 years,” he said. “That road’s life expectancy is 15 years. That’s a slippery slope we can’t keep going down, but we had to get that road paved.”

Another cost in the same category is the condition of the county’s 240 bridges, most of which were built in the 1920s and 1930s.
“The bridges are also a huge expense,” Masterton said. “The South Mitchell bridge is expected to cost about $3 million. We have to come up with a plan.”

He added that might require vacating or returning to gravel some of the county’s rural paved roads because they’ve become so cost prohibitive.

“I have what they refer to as institutional memory,” Masterton said. “I have the experience necessary to understand how things get done.”

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