City Council considers new budget ideas

Wednesday, March 6, 2002

What would you think about moving the McCook Senior Center to the McCook Elks Lodge location at East Seventh and I, instead of expanding the center at the current location on West Fifth street?

It's an intriguing consideration, and it's one that McCook City Councilman Phil Lyons believes should be reviewed before the city makes a final decision on senior center expansion plans. Along with the five other members of the City Council, Councilman Lyons laid his ideas on the table Monday night in a preliminary discussion of items for the 2002-2003 budget year. Several of their suggestions were presented in a front page article in Tuesday's Gazette by City Editor Gloria Masoner. Now's the time for the public to look them over, to ponder them, and get in touch with council members if they have particular areas of concern.

What about Mayor Linda Taylor's suggestion that the city investigate the need for licensing the use of musical works in the concerts in the city parks? That is a concern in larger cities, and it may be something that should to be addressed here, too. For an annual fee of $404, the city could protect itself against copyright infringement penalties of between $750 and $30,000 per violation.

Councilman Steve Batty's idea -- to store all city documents on disk -- makes sense. However, it may not be necessary to purchase a laser fische archiving unit as he has suggested. According to City Clerk LeaAnn Doak, the city offices are already storing documents on disk.

Taxpayers of McCook will also applaud the priorities of Councilman Dick Trail. His priority is to cap the city levy at the current tax asking rate of $0.353158. He also wants the city to keep fees and charges for services at current levels, with no increases authorized in the new budget year.

On the other hand, Councilman Trail advocates budgeting for a full-time city attorney and a full-time city engineer, as well as using general obligation bonds to purchase the old Army Air Base.

What do you think? Are these wise steps for the city?

Councilman Chris Overman also has a long list of ideas, led by his suggestion of establishing a $1 million reserve fund for the city over the next seven years.

In regard to legal fees, Overman suggests a total of $75,000 for the next budget year, which would be a marked reduction from the past few years.

With their varied ideas, the council members have provided us with food for thought. We can do our part by deciding which ideas we favor and which we do not, then sharing our opinions.

You can express your viewpoint to the council members in person, or you may write to Mayor Linda Taylor, City of McCook, Box 1059, McCook, NE 69001, or state your views publicly through an Open Forum letter in the Gazette, P.O. Box 1268, McCook, NE 69001.

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