Red Willow County commissioners closed on the purchase of the big gray-and-white apartment house at 524 Norris Ave. during their weekly meeting Monday morning.
Commissioners agreed in December to pay Stannis and Kenneth Spencer of McCook $50,000 for the property. Camy Bradley of McCook Abstract Co. Monday morning presented the purchaser's statement to commissioners for signatures.
The county will pay closing costs of $350, title insurance of $257.50 and recording fees and the costs of a closing protection letter to McCook Abstract for $31, bringing the purchase price to $50,638.50. The utilities agreement states that the Spencers will pay for all utilities until Feb. 1, and 2009 real estate taxes.
The house, as county property, will be tax exempt unless it is ever rented, said Commissioner Steve Downer.
The house will be winterized to cut costs, commission chairman Earl McNutt said.
McNutt said the commissioners have no definite plans for the house or lots on which it sits. "We were approached with this deal," McNutt said. "Regardless of its future use, it's good to have some property, because the courthouse is landlocked."
The county owns the former beauty salon and lot immediately north of the courthouse. There remain two privately-owned apartment houses between that property and the house at 524.
Commissioners signed an application for a $250,000 Nebraska Energy Office and 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act federal stimulus program grant on behalf of Hillcrest Nursing Home.
Commissioner Leigh Hoyt, who is the county's representative on the Hillcrest board of trustees, said the grant will be used to partially fund a $757,900 upgrade to the nursing home's heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
Hoyt said the HVAC improvements are the first step in a multi-year renovation project at the 47-year-old facility.
The agenda also included these items:
* McCook CPA Donald Wilson found a deficiency within the county's financial reporting, he reported in his audit of the year ending June 30 2009: That one employee could handle all aspects of processing a transaction from beginning to end. Management's response to Wilson's comment, as it has been for audits in the past, is that an adequate segregation of duties may not be possible without additional costs or hiring of personnel.
* The Nebraska Department of Roads will pay Red Willow County's county surveyor up to $1,400 to find, move and remonument a possible eight land survey corners before and after a resurfacing project on South Highway 83 from the Nebraska-Kansas line to McCook.
* The county's Planning Commission will investigate options and quotes for work needed to update the county's zoning ordinances; commissioners tabled indefinitely signing a new contract with JEO Consulting Group Inc., which wrote the original zoning book in 2001. "The book needs to be updated and revised," Hoyt said. "It's got to be done," including updates on housing, setbacks and maps, and considering wind generation facilities that are not mentioned in the 9-year-old original regulations.
* Commissioners signed an agreement with Niobrara Valley Consultants of Valentine to perform county highway superintendent duties for Red Willow County. Downer recommended playing NVC the same as the county's former high superintendent -- Gary Dicenta was paid $6,000 a year, plus mileage. Dicenta continues to work as county surveyor.
* Commissioners approved an amendment to the county employees' health insurance program with Meritain Health to comply with a new Nebraska law that allows coverage for dependent children up to 30 years of age who are disabled or enrolled full-time in college.
* Sitting as a board of equalization, commissioners approved tax roll deductions totalling $350.86, correcting a clerical error on three parcels for three years, and approved the real and personal property tax exemption application from Community Hospital Association for the former Apria building and land at the corner of East 11th and H that the hospital purchased for administrative and office space.