Letter to the Editor

Penny, pound

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Dear Editor,

It was discouraging to watch the penny wise and pound foolish City Council Monday night.

Three of the four councilmen voted not to allow the cell tower to be put on agriculture land outside of the city limits, even though the planning commission has voted unanimously for it.

There were three individuals who spoke against it, with a fourth one being represented. One of their reasons was it might hurt the value of their property that is anywhere near the tower. One of those against it has recently moved to a big city. They had earlier turned down probably a better site because of local protest. They also turned down the MPPD tower because it might harm the city's ability to keep the air service even though, as I understand, the FAA has/had given their blessing for the tower.

These businesses are and will pay taxes on their equipment. With the cell company having two towers in place and MPPD just expanding, McCook has got them and feel they don't need to cooperate or work with them in any way. What about all the money it has cost these two businesses which will be passed on to their customers?

In the last 5 to 6 years McCook's City Council and city manager have managed to stop all development, business, commercial and residential. McCook has businesses that have recently left and others are leaving or closing. Property values in McCook are decreasing, especially in relation to the rest of the state.

Where does the council think McCook gets its revenue from to operate? I've always thought it was from property taxes, sales tax and services. John Bingham, in open meetings said new homes built that would be built on the subdivision I was trying to develop would not pay the cost of the police and fire protection. New businesses and homes increase the value of everyone's property, which means more revenue for the town.

There are a lot of people who have left McCook since the last census. Some would have liked to stay in McCook, but there was not the type of housing retirees want. A lot of people (who) thought about moving to McCook from the agriculture area, up to 60 or 70 miles away, didn't because of housing and service cost.

That also means less sales tax revenue for the city because these people are not spending their money here. That means empty houses, which will lower property values. Several mobile homes have/are being moved out of McCook. Not allowing new development means the city valuations stay the same or go lower. Fewer customers and no new development will make the cost of city services like water, sewer and trash collections go up because of the fixed cost. Higher cost means less usage, which means increase cost in those services.

With the money that the city requires to be spent for fees and plats just to be able to go before the council, then the hassle, unreasonable demands, and then the total uncertainty of being unable to do the project, (it) has sent a clear signal to any business thinking about McCook. It would be excellent if a person who wants to do something could just sit down with some reasonable people from the city and find out all the requirements needed and thrash out the differences, if they can. Then that person can decide if proceeding is the right choice.

All of the money McCook has been borrowing in the last few years will have to be paid back with interest. It is interesting that McCook's valuation only increased .0046 percent last year and Red Willow Western Rural Fire District, which encompasses the area around McCook, increased 1.23 percent. What residential building and some commercial that is happening, is outside of McCook and the county gets the total benefit of those property taxes.

The towns that are growing are encouraging and work with people for development. I look at both the millions spent unnecessarily in the past eight years and the millions now committed that are going to be spent in the future that didn't need to be.

A former governor, Norbert Tiemann publicly said: if you were going to give Nebraska an enema, you would insert it in McCook. I now understand that statement.

Claude L Cappel,


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