McCOOK, Nebraska -- Rental fees and damage deposits will be going up at the city auditorium, as the McCook City Council approved on second reading a revised ordinance that increases the rates.
Before its second-round approval, the council heard from a McCook citizen who protested the new rates.
Ron Kotschwar said the new fees are too excessive and should be increased incrementally, instead of all at once. Kotschwar said he and his wife organize craft shows at the auditorium and have already collected fees for spaces they rent. But under the amended ordinance, rental fees at the auditorium are doubled, from $75 to $150.
Under the revised ordinance, damage deposits remain the same for events with no food, drink or alcohol, at $100.
Mayor Dennis Berry said he understood Kotschwar's concern, as the last time fees were looked at was in 1981. Still, he added that the fees were in line with what is being charged at other facilities in the city and that damage deposits are returned if the facility is cleaned up to the satisfaction of the city manager or city clerk.
Councilman Aaron Kircher recommended that rental rates should be evaluated every five years and also noted the importance of three readings, so citizens have time to evaluate changes in city law.
The ordinance has one more reading and must be published before it goes into effect.
New fees at Memorial Auditorium (with old fees in parenthesis) will be:
rental of balcony, floor and stage: non-profit and governmental agencies, $50 ($25); all others, $150 per day ( $25 half day, $50 all clean-up/damage deposits for events with food and drink: $400 ($200); clean-up/damage deposit for events with alcohol, or dances: $800 ( previously, alcohol was not allowed; damage deposits for dances were negotiated on a case-by-case basis.)
For all events serving alcohol, two security personnel will be provided by the renter.
Councilman Kircher asked city staff to clarify in the ordinance that clean-up/damage deposits cannot be "stacked up" on top of each other, but that each event will be charged separately and accordingly.
The council also approved on second reading the use of alcohol at the auditorium, if a special designated liquor license is approved by the council and the liquor license holder provides liability insurance naming the city as a co-insured.