McCOOK, Nebraska -- Red Willow County commissioners want the land at 524 Norris in McCook, but not the house and garage. Nor do they think the county needs to be in the rental or lease business.
Therefore, at their weekly meeting Monday morning, commissioners decided to sell the big two-story white-and-gray apartment house on the corner north of the courthouse and require that it be moved off the lot or torn down.
The county will remove the brick garage. "The bottom line is, the county wants the land," commission chairman Earl McNutt said.
McNutt said commissioners don't know if the courthouse may need to expand in the future. "A parking lot (on the apartment house land) may be as beneficial as anything," he said.
One McCook resident had proposed leasing the apartment house from the county, and offered to make necessary repairs and/or renovations, pay utilities, insurance and taxes and manage the property for the rental fees for five years. McNutt said that the person planned to make some repairs to the apartments and do routine maintenance, but would have requested county help with big expenses, such as a furnace or major plumbing problems. The man was not present at Monday's public hearing, called to allow public input on the property and its possible uses by the county.
McNutt said he was approached by another citizen inquiring about the county itself renting the apartments to low-income renters. Assistant County Attorney Phil Lyons told commissioners that the county would have to charge itself property taxes if the county became a landlord.
McNutt said, however, "It's not the county's responsibility to provide rentals," and Hoyt added, "I'm not sure the county needs to get into the lease business." "Especially short-term," fellow commissioner Steve Downer added.
Hoyt made a motion, seconded by Downer, to advertise the house for sale, publishing legal notices in the Gazette on May 13 and 20, and opening bids at the commissioners' weekly meeting on Monday, June 7.