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Voters to Decide Whether to Eliminate Three Nebraska Towns

November 2, 1996

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ One of the biggest questions before voters in three Nebraska towns isn’t Clinton or Dole _ it’s whether to be or not to be. A town, that is.

Voters in Tamora, Marsland and Dickens will decide Tuesday whether to abolish incorporation, which would dissolve the towns within three years.

In Marsland, population six in northwest Nebraska, and Dickens, population 13, voters will probably vote to make the towns fade off the maps.

``It’s just a little rural area with a few houses,″ said Ann Harris, chairwoman of the Dickens Village Board. ``It’s not any different than living in the country really.″

Harris and Jack Winget, the board chairman in Marsland, blame paperwork for their decisions to push the ``unincorporation″ vote. And times have changed.

Dickens, in southwest Nebraska some 50 miles east of the Colorado border, now relies on county workers for snow removal and residents have their own water wells. In Marsland, once a town of 600, building steam trains lost importance with the advent of diesel locomotives; the village located about 30 miles east of the Wyoming border also was left behind by progress in general.

``You live with it and accept the changes,″ Winget said.

It’s not as simple in Tamora, located in east-central Nebraska with 77 residents. The question is on the ballot because of a family feud.

Bob McCuiston, village board chairman, wants to keep Tamora as is. His father and uncle, however, want to get rid of McCuiston and the board so much that they filed the petition to force the vote on unincorporation.

``He used to be my son,″ Leroy Ihde said grudgingly of McCuiston.

Ihde and his brother, Lloyd Ihde, said McCuiston takes advantage of his position and pushes other board members around; McCuiston denies the claims.

Andy Carothers, a lawyer with the League of Nebraska Municipalities, said more communities may consider unincorporation if the state caps tax rates and spending. It would hamper towns’ ability to pay for basic services like street lighting and snow removal.

``We are encouraging people not to panic,″ Carothers said. ``There are ways to create efficiencies.″

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