Eldon Orthmann believes the Adams County government is running smoothly and he is worthy of a fourth term on the Adams County Board of Supervisors.
Orthmann, 73, of 419 N. Briggs Ave., a Republican, is running for re-election in his District 7 seat against Republican challenger Willis Hunt. There are no Democrats running for the position.
Orthmann first was elected to the board in 2006. He was elected board chairman by his fellow Supervisors in 2016.
“I love it,” Orthmann said of his time on the board. “I would not be going for a fourth if I didn’t. I have a great board to work with. We don’t 100 percent agree on everything, which isn’t going to happen. They’re good to work with and don’t have any real bullies on the board. I’ve been chairman for three years; two times it’s been a 4-3 split. I enjoy it. If somebody else wants it that’s fine. My job is to run the meetings, keep them going smoothly and try not to let people that have nothing really to say talk too long. If people have something to say, they can talk as long as they want.”
Orthmann is a rental property owner and retired photographer.
His wife, Tammy, owns Bath Bliss Gifts in downtown Hastings. He has three stepchildren and five grandchildren.
He is proud the county has continued to reduce its property tax asking.
Going into the budget process, county board members didn’t know whether they could do that.
“But we’ve done it,” Orthmann said. “It’s tough. We’ve asked people to make cuts.”
The county board has been active in recent years upgrading county facilities.
Adams County agreed to purchase Wallace Elementary from Adams Central Public Schools to be used for the Nebraska Extension office among other purposes. The Adams Central Board of Education approved the $426,000 purchase bid from the county on April 9.
The county agreed to pay $15,000 for a study that would evaluate the need and options for a new county jail as well as an assessment of the current jail at the Adams County Courthouse.
“They’re weighing them all,” Orthmann said of options for a jail. “We’re trying to get the best bang for the buck, so to speak, and trying to do the most economical thing for what we have to do.”
Orthmann is part of the county building, grounds and equipment; emergency services and communications; and safety committees and also fills his time serving on the Midland Area Agency on Aging, Heartland Pet Connection and Adams County Convention and Visitors Bureau boards.
“If anybody thinks the county board job is two days a month they have a misconception,” he said.
He had also served on the Adams County Senior Services board for many years but left because it was a conflict of interest between serving on that board and the MAAA board.
“I like what I do,” he said. “I enjoy working with the people, helping people. I’d enjoy another four years of that. I’m young enough.”
Through everything he and the rest of the county board does, Orthmann said, board members try to be as responsible as possible with taxpayer dollars.
“I’m a taxpayer; we serve the taxpayers,” he said.
Two of his rental properties went up several thousand dollars in valuation.
“That concerns me because I have not raised rents on my people, so I try to make it work,” he said. “There’s a lot of people in the same boat.”
He’s complimentary of the county staff.
“I can’t say enough about the staff I have backing me in that courthouse,” he said. “I don’t have all the answers and I know that, but I pretty well know where to get them. If anybody asks me and I don’t know, I’ll just write down their name and phone number. I go get the information from people that have that knowledge.”