The Hill County Park Board monthly meeting got a little contentious Monday night when the wife of a park board member said they had received a cabin regulation violation letter that contradicted what they had been told in the past about their cabin.
Judi Gomke of Kremlin, wife of board member Mel Gomke, told the board that a previous superintendent of Beaver Creek Park told the Gomkes they could put up a smooth wire fence outside of their cabin’s actual lot to protect trees they planted, and that they had been told they could mow the grass outside of their established lot, primarily to reduce fire danger.
Receiving a letter now saying their doing that violated cabin lease regulations is a problem, Judi Gomke said.
“Now Chad (Edgar) is superintendent with different rules, and when he’s gone will there be even more different rules for cabin owners?” she asked.
Board chair Steve Mariani said those cabin rules — no wire fences and no mowing outside of the cabin lots — have been on the books as long as he can remember.
“The rules are there,” he said. “What would you have us do? change the rules?”
“You do change the rules … I don’t want my trees to die,” Gomke said.
She said she and her husband have been planting trees and working hard to make sure they survive for years.
Mariani said Edgar is simply enforcing rules that have been in effect for years.
“It’s always been no metal fences,” he said. “Everybody’s got trees and everybody’s got problems. Do we change the rules and let everybody have metal fences?”
Board member and Hill County Commissioner Kathy Bessette said, especially for a board member, the regulations have to be followed.
“One thing that happens with any public entity, and the park board is a public entity, is if one person gets away with it it sets a precedent,” she said. “This is what we have to consider. It will affect us (for the future of the park.)”
Mel Gomke said some people do get away with breaking regulations.
“There are other violations out there and you guys are not picking those up,”
“Come with us and help us find them,” Mariani said.
That tied in with another discussion at the meeting, how to conduct cabin inspections.
Board member Robbie Lucke said the board needs to have more people involved in the inspections, and have them better scheduled in order for board members to plan for them.
Mariani added that the fall inspections are the most important, and that Edgar now has a list of cabins that have had problems with the lease regulations this year. The people doing the inspection could focus on those cabins, he said.
The board also approved accepting a set of playground equipment that was offered by the Railroad Pagers to be installed at some location in the park, likely at Camp Kiwanis.
Edgar said in his report that work is progressing well on recovery from damage caused by the last two years of flooding.
The park has been very busy so far, with few problems, he added.
He said the park board’s grazing committee met twice in the last month, setting grazing amounts once the season starts after Labor Day, with most set at a three-year average.
The committee also spread out some grazing allotments from ranchers who had not been using their allotments.
Edgar said, pending approval by the board — which it did unanimously — the committee’s actions would add four new ranchers to the operators who graze cattle on the park.
Lucke said, pending one last rancher taking over an allotment that is available, it will eliminate the list of people who have been asking to get into the grazing allotment program.
“We have no waiting list,” Lucke said. “We have really accomplished a lot.”