County news

This is part two of last week’s Dickinson County Commission meeting.

It was minutes into the regular Thursday meeting of the Dickinson County Commission for the mask mandate issue to arise.

The commission approved a countywide mandate for the covering of the mouth and nose in public places on Nov. 18. However, on Dec. 17 the commission voted 2-1 to eliminate fines for punishment for violating the order.

Commissioner Ron Roller said comments from across Dickinson County he has received in regard to face masks revealed there are more not in favor of the face masks than those in favor.

“It was obvious throughout the county there was a lot of opposition to face masks,” Roller said.

Peterson said he also has received numerous texts and emails regarding the mask situation.

“My numbers are probably a little bit different than his,” he said. “I have been hearing it from both sides but we need to be safe and keep restrictions in place.”

He said some of questions regarded why “we lowered the bar” by taking the fine aspect out of it.

“Then I have had people say they are very appreciative that we did take some steps to make things more reasonable,” he said. “I also received information from people that say we just need to eliminate it (mask mandate) completely. We continue to receive and welcome your comments.”

In opening the meeting up to public comments, Peterson asked comments not to be repetitious.

Brian Harris said that it is important to use wisdom on decisions and not throw emotions into the equations.

“The mask order needs to go away,” he said.

“There is not a reason, where the wisdom side of this, is there,” he said. “It is only based on the emotional side.”

Don Nebelsick said he visited with state Rep. John Barker (R-Abilene) about getting school teachers listed as essential workers.


Sterl Hall

Peterson said he received a letter from Abilene City Commissioner Trevor Witt.

“He said with all the negativity we have right now with government officials that had taken place the past year, he thought it was of great importance to notice some of the good things going on in the community,” Peterson said. “The particular item that he was referring to were the improvements going on out at Sterl Hall.”

Some have to do with the Dickinson County District Court relocating there while the present courthouse and court is being renovated.

“But also, through some of the funding that we received, the county was able to add to the improvements and add to the bathroom capacity and the showers and it also can be suitable for an emergency shelter,” Peterson said.

Peterson said it was an improvement that did take place because the county utilized COVID-19 grants.

“It is something that is going to benefit us for a long time,” he said.

The cost of the addition of the bathroom with showers was just over $200,000.

The showers allow for Sterl Hall to be better utilized as a shelter.

“A lot of us stand with him on the fact that there are a lot of negative things and a lot of challenges going on,” Peterson said. “Whether it is something small or big, we need to celebrate some of the good things that are happening.”



Commission Chairman Lynn Peterson said Diane Greenough, director of Human Resources, updated the commission on the payroll plan during a study session earlier Thursday.

“It is important that we stay competitive,” Peterson said. “So we are very methodical about that. When you think about the investment you have in your employees, the training they have, the experience they have, it is something we are very appreciative of them.”

County Administrator Brad Homman said the county finished the year within the 2020 budget.

He also said that sales tax came in at almost $115,000. Total sales tax  was $1.37 million, about $76,000 above projections.

“I think a lot of people are shopping at home and not going out,” he said.

County Counsel Doug Thompson said he is moving forward with the foreclosure of 40 parcels that have not paid property taxes or special assessments.

The commission voted 3-0 on a resolution to authorize the foreclosures.

Contact Tim Horan at


Contact Tim Horan at

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