Letter to the Editor

Help McCook grow

Friday, October 12, 2007

Dear Editor,

I am writing in regards to the City Sales Tax that will be coming up for a special vote on Nov. 13, 2007. I have talked to many people about the issue and have heard many opinions, both in favor and against, of continuing the tax.  Regardless of which opinion you hold, I feel it is important that everyone who does vote should be an "informed" voter.

I attended a special meeting at the Senior Center where Rex Nelson and Dale Dueland gave an overview about the three questions that will appear on the ballot. I learned some new things and would like to share with you a couple of thoughts I took away from that meeting.

The three questions on the ballot will be 1.) Should we continue the 1 percent sales tax with a 10 year sunset clause, 2.) Should we add another ½ percent and divide that income (1/4) each between the City of McCook for special projects and the other ¼ going towards the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) -- with a 10 year sunset, and 3.) Vote yes or no to approve the "Economic Development Plan?"

I didn't understand the third question about why we are voting for an Economic Development Plan.

What is this? Simply put, it as an outline of the types of projects and activities that the funds can be used for. I learned that other cities such as North Platte, Gothenburg, Cozad, Imperial, Cambridge and 44 other Nebraska cities have the ability to entice prospective new businesses to their communities by helping them with incentives such as low or no interest loans, grants or subsidized buildings.

Progressive cities commonly help with streets, water and sewer hook-ups as well. In order for McCook to be competitive when courting prospective businesses, we the voters need to give the MEDC authorization by our vote, and of course, the funding.

A very important sector of our population in McCook is our senior citizens and retired people. Yes, they have to pay their fair share of property taxes; however, they are not the biggest retail consumers. Therefore the segment of the population that will be paying the highest percentage of the sales tax are the young and middle age consumers who are actively buying cars, furniture, clothing, houses, TVs, electronics, appliances etc. etc.

Those who are paying most of the tax are also the ones most likely to benefit from the job creation and the improved future economy of McCook.  

 Visitors -- think of all the visitors we have! Every time McCook hosts a college or high school sporting event, every golf tournament, cross country meet, the Women's Retreat, Heritage Days, Kiplinger Arena etc. we have visitors in town that are buying gas, shopping in our stores, eating in our restaurants and staying in hotels.  They are helping to create revenue for our city.

Lastly, it is not just the citizens of McCook proper who are paying the tax.  McCook has a 70 mile radius of people who come in from out of town to shop -- they too will be creating revenue.

While visiting with folks about this issue I heard a common concern.  Citizens need to be reassured that the money is spent sensibly and prudently. The City Council will create a Citizens Advisory Revenue Committee made up of seven citizens. It is my hope that this committee is a diversified group that truly represents the interests of all citizens of McCook.

Dan Childers, the developer of East Ward said, "McCook is a clean, first class community with a way of life that is rare and precious."

I hope McCook continues to grow and prosper and be a first class city, while we hold on ever so tightly to our way of life which is truly rare and precious.

Becky Kilpatrick


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