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Monday, July 25, 2016

Budget proposes pay hikes

Friday, July 9, 2010

Tuesday evening the McCook City Council received the city staff's 2010-11 preliminary budget which includes a "4.5 percent across the board cost of living adjustment for all employees."

City Manager Kurt Fritsch said in the introductory letter for the budget "We feel that it is important to make these increases so that we may stay in line with our compensation practices." The letter also stated that "state funding has been reduced by about 5 percent in revenue sharing to cities in Nebraska" and in another section that "unless there is improvement in revenues and the state funds cities at their full share we will seriously have to consider some increase in the property tax rate in 2011-12."

In addition to the cost of living increase, merit and longevity increases also are proposed: $66,892 and $45,687 respectively. The proposed increases are spread over 87.8 full time equivalent positions.

The city is currently spending $11,500 annually per employee in health and insurance costs and has proposed an increase in employee contributions in the budget, in order to hold costs and claims down for the city.

The general fund portion of the budget is $7,079,258, $148,866 more than last year or a 2.14 percent increase, with no proposed property tax increase for 2010-11.

With sales tax revenues projected to continue to stay flat, City Council has agreed to approach voters with a project this fall that would ask for a seven year bond against the sales tax, in the amount of $3.5 to $3.75 million, for the construction of a new Municipal Complex to house Fire, Police and City offices.

Projects proposed for use of the sales tax in 2010-11 include replacement of an ambulance, roof repair at the Senior Center, upgrades at the library and $250,000 for street resurfacing and repairs.

City staff is awaiting the rate analysis from Public Financial Management to determine whether water/sewer increases will be necessary, the budget noted that no increase had been passed on in either of these areas for the last three years.

City council will continue discussion and review of the budget proposal Monday, 7:30 p.m., during the second of three open meeting budget workshops at Memorial Auditorium.

A selection of 2009-10 McCook City Personnel positions 12 month pay rate prior to proposed cost of living, longevity, and merit increases:

City Manager $92,623

City Clerk $60,888

Fire Chief $59,229

Firefighter/Paramedic (3) $43,645

Chief of Police $60,885

Police Detective (2) $43,238

Patrol Officer (8) $35,693

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REALLY? In the private sector some companies still have raise freezes after 2 years. We're lucky to have a job. Now we have to turn around and try to pay for others' raises? The State of California reduced their State employee's salaries to minimum wage to help save their government and save people's jobs. Why put the burden of pay increases, merit increases on the private sector when is it really necessary during this time of economic recovery? Is our City government and their employees that selfish?

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Fri, Jul 9, 2010, at 1:10 PM

Looks like McCook, Ne. is doing something right!!!! They seem to be better off than the State of Nebraska

Maybe the city manager is worth over $100,000.00

He must know what hes doing!!

Its hard to believe.

-- Posted by Just a reader on Fri, Jul 9, 2010, at 1:28 PM

Wow! Increases in wages for them?? Now, how does the city plan on doing that?? Again, the taxpayer is burdened enough through these times of recession. And the city wants more??!?!? There needs to be a stopping point and by the looks of the wages that these people already make, they don't need any more raises. Especially the city manager. That wage is ridiculous!! I've seen people do more and get paid way less than him.

What the city pays in fees for insurance on all the employees of the city could be lessened if the cost of insurance was put on the employees. Then it would be the same as eveyone in the city who works at a job and has to pay for their insurance. City employees pay less than $50 for insurance a month. And that is for family plans. We the taxpayer have to come up with the money to pay their way!! Where is our help Mr. City Manager??? Keep your budget down!! Why don't the city manager take a pay decrease of $30K a year? That would really help with part of the budget. This city is spinning out of control. Something needs to be done! Any ideas?????

-- Posted by edbru on Fri, Jul 9, 2010, at 2:20 PM

Ideas? Yeah, go spend a day in the life of a city manager, police chief, fire chief. See what its all about. I look at these wages and compare them to those in my community in Colorado. Our city manager makes well over 100,000. Our police chief makes more than that of McCook's city manager. And the fire chief's wage? Our fire chief makes more than our police chief! I think McCook IS doing something right by keeping these well talented people around for the subpar wages they are paying them. If I remember right, McCook's property tax has not risen forever. Ours raises yearly. I think that some of you negative, complain about everything people should just go follow these folks around for a day or two and then maybe you will have a change of heart....if you have a heart. I'd like to know why the editor of the gazette, the superintendent, the hospital CEO, the state employees, etc. make? Why did the gazette elect to single out specifically the fire and police departments? Shame on you!

-- Posted by McCook Supporter on Fri, Jul 9, 2010, at 3:21 PM

Why should MY wages be frozen, or get a 2.5% pay increase, while my tax dollars pay to give them raises of that magnitude?

Give them 2.5% and that is it. Most of them make more than most people in McCook Nebraska, and if they aren't happy with that, then go somewhere else to find a job and work!

-- Posted by ladypat37 on Fri, Jul 9, 2010, at 10:42 PM

ladypat37...be careful what you wish for. If these leadership positions decide to do as you say and go somewhere else, you will be hard pressed to find someone to fill the vacancies with the wages currently being paid to these leaders and their subordinates. Its funny how all of you seem to be coming down hard on the city when the school superintendent probably makes twice as much as the city manager.

-- Posted by McCook Supporter on Sat, Jul 10, 2010, at 9:54 AM

You sure about that? I think you have some underpaid police and firefighters, but 60,000 for a city clerk would be nice to see compared to the national average. Are cost of living surveys done by the city when wages are considered?

-- Posted by Bruce Baker on Sat, Jul 10, 2010, at 1:51 PM

Those of us who are retired and are property owners did not receive a cost of living increase in our retirement benefits because, we were told, there was no increase in the cost of living. Yet our property taxes could be increased to pay for our city workers cost of living pay increase. I'm just thinking that if retirees can go without a cost of living increase, then maybe, to keep city expenses in line, city workers could go without a cost of living increase, also.

-- Posted by Grandma B on Sat, Jul 10, 2010, at 3:11 PM

Look most of these employees are making less than poverty level wages!!!! as an ex city employee i dont think this little raise is enough to deal with the public on a daily basis and all of the sacrifices they make to make your life better!!!!

-- Posted by kman on Sat, Jul 10, 2010, at 11:20 PM

A couple of facts....the city commissioned a salary study of every position in the city with an independent agency (the staff did not do it). The study found the salary ranges for most positions in McCook were in the average range compared to the other First Class cities in Nebraska. The study did find that some of the positions were BELOW average. This increase only keeps pace with other communities. The shots at the city manager and department heads are just not fair! The manager has a college degree and over-sees a budget of millions of dollars. Not just the averge Joe off the street can do that job. Most people I listen too think the manager is one of the best McCook has ever had. Another fact is that the budget has NO increase in the property tax levy again this year--since 2001 there has been NO increase! Another statewide study showed that McCook was BELOW average in the tax levy. It would appear that the city is doing an OUTSTANDING job of money management.

-- Posted by dennis on Mon, Jul 12, 2010, at 10:22 AM

I find it interesting how everyone assumes that THEIR tax money is going to fund the raises.... You people do realize that these positions are NOT volunteer positions correct? I think I'll comlain about how the money I spent on groceries is funding someone's retirement fund, or the money I use to fill my tank "is actually paying for someone's RENT!" The nerve of some people to expect that they should actually be compensated for their time! Well I guess I will no longer eat, no longer drive, and no longer live in this town of greedy people. Here's an idea, let's band together and everyone leave this city and go to Denver where taxes are free, city employees, fire fighters, and law enforcement collect no higher wages and do it with a smile on there faces, and the City Manager strives to make a better city for less that his education and experience dictates! What are WE WAITING FOR? Let's get out of this high rent district. By the way, mind if I can see your wage published for the public to see? And as far as retired folk go, I feel for you, we can never plan enough for retirement. I'm sure I won't have enough when I retire but then again..... A lot of folks moved to McCook to retire, why was that? Oh because its affordable to live here.

No I don't work for the city, I'm private sector, no I didn't make a raise last year, but two years ago I had a good year and realized a 6% increase in wage, something I'm sure will NEVER be tolerated by the tax payers. It kind of works out in the wash.

Everone assumes that their tax dollars are THEIRS, that is the price you pay for living in the USA, I don't think Ethiopia requires taxes paid, but then again, talk about water quality. Taxes are no different that the electric bill, if you want the service, pay the bill, if its too high, do something (other than complain) about it, and if that doesn't work, rid yourself of the need.

I say keep up the good McCook, its nice to see the roads in good shape, infra-structure becoming stabalized and the city becoming a presentable place to live. Something City Managers from the past which have been paid less, have failed to do. Sorry readers, I've lived here for 38 years, I may have seen things going as well as they are not but certainly not better, not in the expanded picture of things.

-- Posted by PensiveObserver on Mon, Jul 12, 2010, at 12:24 PM

Time for our fine city council to "grow a set" and not rubber stamp these wage increases!

A 4.5% increase is way out of line when you read about most employees are getting an across the board increase of 0% to 3%.

A big NO, to merit and longevity raises! With the present state of the economy, there is no way the city can afford these.

Yes our present city manager is a good one and a "keeper", give him and all the other employees an across the board 3% increase. A decent increase, when you consider the feds are giving retirees 0%, because according to them the cost of living has risen ZERO percent.

I also think that the present dept. managers are ok, but not irreplaceable. I would think that when one of them goes on vacation or is off sick etc. a subordinate can and will do their job. SO if any one of them thinks that the city can not function without them, let 'em go, there is always someone to take their place. If they think they are worth more, let 'em go, there will be someone to take their place, and at probably a lower wage!!

88 city employees! Wow seems like that might be just a little excessive, perhaps another study should be taken to compare McCook with other cities our size to see if there is an excessive number of employees, for our number of citizens.

-- Posted by goarmy67 on Mon, Jul 12, 2010, at 2:13 PM

You'll never see that study Wodering! I totally agree with your responds and your last paragraph hit the head of the nail. NO WAY DOES A CITY OF MCCOOK SIZE NEED 88 employees!!

-- Posted by remington81 on Mon, Jul 12, 2010, at 4:52 PM

It would be interesting how many of you naysayers will be applying for the next available position that opens up at the City. Would you change your opinion on a wage increase then? Or would you say "Oh, no thanks, I make plenty, give it back to the taxpayers!"

-- Posted by MakingApoint on Mon, Jul 12, 2010, at 6:05 PM

Dear MakingApoint,

I have no problem with the city giving the employees a REASONABLE wage increase. But a 4.5% across the board increase PLUS longevity and merit raises, NOT REASONABLE!

I would like to know what percentages they propose to be giving for the longevity and merit raises?

I would wager that they would amount to perhaps 2-3% range each. That could mean an 8 to 9% raise for some, that amount would not only be unreasonable it would be obscene.

Has anyone heard of or read of anyone getting a 4.5% plus raise in this economy? I haven' except for perhaps to over paid wall street types.

Give them a reasonable decent raise. 3% this year is very reasonable, and I repeat the feds tell the retirees that their cost of living has not gone up, so 3% is reasonable.

Also making, I would bet that there would be many applications made for some of the city jobs, and would be happy to receive a reasonable wage increase.

Human nature being what it is, I never turned down a raise, but for over 30 plus years I have been happy to get any kind of raise and keep my job, right now there are many people that would work those city jobs and not expect any raise, and just be happy to have a decent job.

-- Posted by goarmy67 on Mon, Jul 12, 2010, at 7:05 PM

The company I work for has froze wages for three years now due to the economy. That is managing a company to keep it going and not run it into the ground. The city wants to get the raise of 4-5%?? Do they even look at what is going on in our country?? Economic times are hard for everyone. But not for the ones with high wages. I know if I made $92K a year, I wouldn't worry about a raise. I would worry about the city as a whole and want to keep it going and not run it into the ground.

Since the stimulus money came from the government, it seems like the city can't spend enough. They got a taste for it and want more like a dog gets a taste for blood. You all know the picture. The people in the positions of manager, fire chief, etc. are doing fine with their work. 88 employees of the city are quite a few. Especially when the taxpayer pays for their insurance through taxes. If the city wants to cut costs and get back into the black, put the cost of insurance on the employees. That is around $100K a year. Other cuts can be made. Sure, this burdens the employee. What about other white/blue collar workers???? We have to pay for our insurance out of what our wages are. That burdens us in these times.

I don't care what an independent survey comes up with. Get reasonable with what you are doing. Increasing the budget only makes matters worse in the long run. Sure, handling millions of dollars is a challenge. Take three zeros off a million and you have the normal person balancing a checkbook or budgeting for a household. Make this whole thing simple. Forget the raises for employees. Freeze wages as they are. Eveyone else is doing it. Why can't the city???????

-- Posted by edbru on Tue, Jul 13, 2010, at 9:57 AM

Earl/ebru, you are entitled to your opinion. Remember that even with the raises, the property tax levy is not going to raise. The city, unlike the feds and some private businesses or individual households, has clearly managed the money very well. You are mistaken if you think the city is in the red and needs to "get back into the black." It is already in the black. If you think the city employees have it so good, I see they have an opening. Check the want ads and appy. Seems like you are usually critical and usually your opinions are not factual. Go to the city office and get the facts. I see the city budget and money management as a cup WAY more than half full. Sorry you see the same cup as nearly empty.

-- Posted by dennis on Tue, Jul 13, 2010, at 10:18 AM

Dennis, I'm sure as Mayor you are biased but you're missing the point. It's called good leadership and representation during hard economic times. Not milking the cow every chance you get. It's not that we don't agree that City employees deserve a COL increase. Don't we all? Yes, as an employee of the City I would be ecstatic to receive a COL increase, merit raise, etc. For others I'm sure they'd be ecstatic just to have a job. However, I would also understand that good representation also means setting an example of how others should be treated and compensated. Yes, the City has done well with budgeting their money as of late, however this doesn't mean to rub it in everyone's faces by handing out incredible increases to their employees. Are there some well educated people in their positions? Yes, however I know of several well educated people that have jobs at Walmart and convenience stores making minimum wage because there is nothing available in their fields. What the City is doing is similar to what some WallStreet companies did...watch everyone suffer while they paid big bonuses. Is this really the example you want to have? Animosity will continue to grow if you keep making insenstive decisions such as this. Give the employees a COL increase. But hold off on the extras until SW Nebraska economics have leveled. Now do you understand?

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Tue, Jul 13, 2010, at 11:19 AM

The city entered into an agreement with their employees and they have the ability to cover that obligation without further tax burdens on the taxpayers. Therefore, why should they go back on their word? Is it because there are others going through hard times so the city should make the lives of their employees harder too? That's terrible leadership because it means decisions are being made solely on emotions instead of facts. It also undermines the integrity of the city to enter into agreements with its employees. Times are hard but the city, fortunately, is doing well enough to pay the agreed upon amount it promised to its employees. This is not rubbing it in someone's face. It's being fortunate enough to keep your word in tough economic times.

Look at the number of parks, the miles of streets, a water treatment plant, a sewage plant, stormwater system, the miles of pipes underneath this city, the library, a 24 hour on duty police department, a 24 hour on duty fire department, city administrative positions, building code enforcement, the senior center and public transportation then decide how many people you think could operate and properly maintain all of it. What is the correct number?

-- Posted by McCook1 on Tue, Jul 13, 2010, at 12:32 PM

McCook1, what agreement does the city have with it's employees that gives them a raise every year? I would like to see a copy of that one.

Like I have said before, I have no problem with giving them all a decent 3% raise, but forget the merit and longevity raises. Few people but government workers get those type of raises anymore.

Dennis, if you are the mayor, I compliment the city council and city manager for a good job, but just because we are not in a money crisis does not mean we need to be so darn generous with the taxpayers money. Yes the city mill levy has not gone up lately, but water/sewer bills will be.

Just because the mill levy doesn't go up doesn't mean my taxes have not. Hell, my evaluation just jumped over $10,000, it's easy to keep the mill levy at the same rate when evaluations keep jumping like this. (Nothing new on my house but some idiot paid way too much for a house in our neighborhood and bingo everybody's goes up.)

With evaluations going up, the mill levy should go down......that's not going to happen!

And don't forget Mr. Mayor, if a fire/police stations vote comes up, how are we going to pay for that without an increase in taxes. Least you guys forget, people are getting really feed up about taxes!

-- Posted by goarmy67 on Tue, Jul 13, 2010, at 1:50 PM

For the police and fire departments it is part of their union contract. For all non-union employees they are treated equally well in raises by the city stating they will facilitate raises in the same manner and it is agreed to by the approval of the budget that sets that money aside for that specific purpose. A person's word is a person's word regardless of whether they put it down in writing or not.

-- Posted by McCook1 on Tue, Jul 13, 2010, at 4:41 PM

I just love the "if i can't have a raise at my job no one else should get one" mentality. Sounds like communism to me. Lets make everything equal.

-- Posted by president obama on Tue, Jul 13, 2010, at 6:03 PM

McCook1-perhaps you are correct but I doubt that all 3 raises are part of the union contracts. If there are indeed in the contract, our city manager had better do something about it next round of talks, that is absolute horse manuare if the city has agreed to all 3 raises every year. Guess bust the unions mentality never reached the city of McCook!

If all 3 are in the union contracts it does not mean that everyone gets them. Who made the promise that all employees will be treated the same as the union boys? Is it in writing? It's just this sort of thing that really gets the taxpayers mad and they will soon demand that cuts be made, watch out low man on the totem pole you'll be looking at those help wanted ads.

Just read the articles about the teabaggers movement, and it is not just the federal government they want to slash, there could be many employees looking for a job if all the cuts are made that those people want.

All of the employees should be damn glad to receive a 3% raise, a whole better than the majority of people in this state and country, and if not, take a hike and find another job, no one is irreplaceable, no one!

-- Posted by goarmy67 on Tue, Jul 13, 2010, at 7:34 PM

Wondering: its true that no one is irreplaceable, those that do the replacing however are often times years from being adiquate for those positions. I don't know if you've ever seen statistics on employee training, but the average cost of replacing an experienced employee with a new employee is generally twice that of the experienced employee's wage taking into considderation the cost of formal training by others, less efficiency, and costs incurred do to improper procedures. This is for the first 6 months of employment or at a minimum through the formal training process. Then there are the years to follow which is spent by the replacement employee making the position their own (without efficency). No one is irreplaceable, but then the costs of said replacement isn't cheap.

If there is someone that strives to be good at their job and is successful, they should be compensated. The rate of compensation depends directly on the situation. If the situation dictates reward them for their efforts. Keep in mind that saleried jobs almost ALLWAYS require more than 40 hrs per week. I'd wager to say that most of those that never got raises last year and were "damn happy" about it would be damned unhappy about not getting time and a half for over time let alone working. 55+ hrs a week for the wage of 40 hrs per week. I'll bet if you broke down the wage devided by actual hrs worked, you would find that these high paid positions are not that high paid.

-- Posted by PensiveObserver on Wed, Jul 14, 2010, at 12:24 PM

Pensive I am well aware of the training and expense of training, but usually if the dept head is worth the money they are paying him, he/she is also training subordinates to handle his job while he is away,such as on vacation etc. His/her 2nd in command had better be ready to step in and do the supervisor's job at any time. I have been in supervisory positions, including the military, I know it cost thousands to train people in the military, but you are training them to take over for you, to be the new leader if God forbid you go down.That is being a leader, to train people to do your job.If the chiefs have not been training their people to do their jobs they are failing in their supervisory positon. And if that is the case the city manager is also not doing his job.

If the supervisors are not willing to work 40 plus hours, get someone who will. That's part of being the big wig, don't want to work the hours, take one of the scheduled jobs.

Mr. Harpoon and Mr. Brown both have employees that have been employed in their departments for years and have climbed up the ladder with paygrade and longevity raises that had better be trained to take over for the chief when they are out of town etc. If not, again the chiefs have not been doing their jobs.

Perhaps some of you that are so eager to give away the taxpayers money with possible 10% raises should listen to the news out of Grand Island. They are facing huge budget shortages, and are talking about laying off over 31 police officers, and the fire dept. employees have said they will take NO raises just to keep their jobs. Why??? Grand Island has been on a spending spree the last few years after taking on the State Fair, they have dug themselves a big hole to crawl out of.

All I'm saying is that with the up coming new buildings etc. that the big boys want, perhaps being prudent with wage increases and not going crazy with possible 9-10% increases should be the way to go. I am not advocating 0% raises, I'm saying that we need to be conservative right now, go with 3% this year and see how the budget looks next year. Just because the bank balance is good right now, does not mean it will be next year!!

Ask the governor, they now have to cut millions again from the budget, McCook is not recession proof, some constraint is needed now. Better to take 3% now and not get laid off next year, just ask some of those that are going to get the ax in Grand Island! And when people like Dennis like to point out that the mill levy has not risen in McCook for years, yes the mill levy has not gone up, but that does not mean taxes have not gone up, I'm getting tired of that double speak, taxes have gone up, with increased evaluations.

AND by the way the military and civlian workers are getting a HUGE 1.4% raise in the 2011 budget. That is 2% less than last year. Guys and Gals putting their life on the line for our country and they get 1.4% makes 3% look pretty good, and a possible 9-10% seem rather excessive.

-- Posted by goarmy67 on Thu, Jul 15, 2010, at 1:03 AM

Did I miss something? Is my good ole hometown of McCook getting the State Fair? And I don't remember reading in the newspaper that ANYONE is getting your mentioned 10% pay increase. I think you're talking out of the wrong end. My brother lives near Grand Island. According to him, and he works closely with city and county government, they are cutting 11 police officer positions and no firefighter positions. They are also cutting some other city positions. They are in the hole because, in his opinion, they went after the Nebrsaka State Fair a year or two too soon and now are having a hard time paying for that. I too spent time in the military and I agree with you in training subordinates to succeed the leader should something happen to them. But I also believe that if the employees are staying in the department for a long period of time, that sends a message that the boss is doing a good job in retaining employees and not paying out for the training, equipping and hiring of new people. There is a small community here in Colorado near where I live. Their police department has over 30 sworn officers. Their fire department does not handle the ambulance service. There fire department has 16 full time and 30 part time firefighters. In my opinion the town I love to call my hometown in McCook, Nebraska is doing some pretty great things. They are controlling costs and providing you services for pennies on the dollar. I would dare you to compare all city services offered to you in McCook to those offered to other communities in Nebraska. I think you'd be surprised to find that you are getting a very good bang for your buck. Of course, you need to get out of your easy chair to do that. Sitting here, finding things to complain about and not having factual information to back it up is alot easier to do.

-- Posted by McCook Supporter on Thu, Jul 15, 2010, at 9:23 AM


I sincerely understand your concerns, even though you have no idea, nor the means to find out, what the facts are. And . . . you won't get them by reading the Gazette (sad to say)! It's obvious from this article that the writer took the bits and pieces from the City Manager's letter that he felt would stir up the public's interest and tick YOU off. The administration of the city is in GREAT hands as they have been "in the black" for years.

It might help to step back and a deep breath. You might then realize how unreasonable you sound. Compare apples to apples and quit being so bitter. Maybe next year you'll get a raise, too.

-- Posted by MakingApoint on Fri, Jul 16, 2010, at 3:35 PM

Ok so Making and Supporter think I'm bitter, or just sitting around in a easy chair waiting for the EMTs to arrive! Sorry kids, neither is correct.

Like I have tried to say before I have no problem with all of the good city workers in McCook receiving a decent reasonable raise, but not a 3 tier'ed raise! 1 across the board raise is a reasonable raise in light of the economic situation in this country.

Both of you say the city is in such great shape, perhaps right now, but if the economy tanks again like many are predicting, do you have a crystal ball that says McCook will be ok next year?

Lets look at just a few "headlines" from the past few days. (By the way supporter, I made it very clear above that GRAND ISLAND was getting the state fair) The point being is they dug theirselves into a hole by over spending!

1. Reported by KOLN/KGIN: 7/14 Grand Island has proposed cutting 31 full time JOBS. It will actually affect 11 PEOPLE. (People that will lose their jobs) BUT that is 31 jobs that will be lost and NOT filled. Sorry I was mistaken on actual number of people actually being laid off, but still the same it's 31 jobs lost.

2. Today Governor Heinimen is ordering the union represented employees to take 2 days off without pay. He has also frozen the wages of non-union employees. He has also told department heads that more cuts are coming, which means job cuts and less money for cities and counties and schools. Could that possibly mean job cuts at the bottom of the money trail? I think so.

3. 7/15 Moody's estimates that 400,000 jobs from state, city, local governments will be lost to budget cuts. (Across the country)

4. Center for Budget and Priorities has the estimate much worse, they say 900,000 jobs will be affected.

5. Here you go supporter. Colorado is cutting public school spending by 260 million dollars, nearly 5% decline from fiscal year 2010.How many teachers/school employees could lose their jobs with those cutbacks?

Many economists are now predicting a double dip recession, with little growth.

Supporter when was the last time you lived in McCook? How long did you work a full time job in McCook? Why did you leave for Colorado? Better job perhaps? One simple fact of full time employment in the fair city of McCook is, if you have a good job, with good benefits, decent wages, you had better hang on to it, because there are plenty of others waiting to take your place, it does not necessarily mean that the chiefs are all that great of managers, it means the employees are smart enough to hang on to the job.

I guess neither of you ever read a newspaper or watch the news, the economy is in very sad shape, public funded jobs are being cut all over the place, people are really p/o'ed about taxes.

Sooooo, perhaps the city should consider cutting back now on the very generous, 3 tiered raises, give them a decent 3 % across the board, keep the money saved from not giving the merit and longevity raises, use it for other parts of the budget, perhaps even lower the mill levy alittle, and keep all employees employeed instead of next year when we get hit with the 2nd recession and then will have to lay off some employees.

After all a portion of the budget is funded by sales tax, if people aren't buying, sales taxes are not collected, budgets get cut. Understand now?

You two can't see the forest for the trees, McCook has been lucky so far, the recession hasn't hit us that hard, but that does not mean it will not. And if the teabaggers have any thing to say, taxes will be cut, mill levies will be cut, meaning that more than likely jobs will be cut, and I would wager a weeks wages that it will NOT be the City Manager or the Chiefs!

Just today, headline: building footprint, ballot on agenda. Well I am willing to bet that unless people see some constraint on the part of the city, the new buildings will not be voted in, there are far too many people in this town that are either retired or work for little more than minimun wage, and can not afford an increase in taxes. People are moving out of our fair ciy because of high property taxes/sales taxes, want to keep them here? Lower taxes.

-- Posted by goarmy67 on Fri, Jul 16, 2010, at 11:39 PM

Wondering70, this will be my last posting as I don't believe I'm going to waste any more time on a negative pessimistic angry person as you seem to be. Just to give you a brief bio on my history I grew up in McCook. My father worked for the FD. I graduated from McCook, got a two year degree from MCC and went on to graduate from Kearney State College. I then joined the Air Force and served proudly for six years, most of that time in Korea and a short stint in Colorado. I have a degree in the healthcare field and planned on returning to my home town to work. However, my uncle, who lives in Colorado, suffered a massive stroke and requires 24 hour care so that derailed my career path. I now live in Colorado and provide my uncle the care he needs while working full-time at a local hospital 40 to 50 hours a week to make ends meet. I earn nearly six figures working at the hospital. My income barely makes ends meet as I pay dearly in property taxes and cost of living here in Colorado. I intend on coming home to McCook after my uncle passes where I can make a comfortable wage, pay more reasonable taxes and live in a community that I know works hard to provide genuine services with employees and managers who truly care about what they are doing. I do read the newspaper. I am aware of what's going on across the country. I see it every day here in Colorado. Please don't call me out and make it like I don't know whats going on in this world because I taste it firsthand every hour of every day. I would trade places with you any hour of any day! My advice to you is rather than sit and complain about a measly 4% raise for the city employees, maybe you should just be thankful that you are paying the taxes that you are for the services you are receiving. It's real easy to get negative, which you obviously are, about what others earn for the careers they choose. Bottom line is they are there when you need them, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and, regardless of what you think of them, they will treat you with years of experience, expertise and pennies on the dollar compared to most other places out there in America. So rather than being negative about a 4% pay increase, be thankful that someone is there to care for you. I am!

-- Posted by McCook Supporter on Sat, Jul 17, 2010, at 1:58 PM

Here's my opinion: You CANNOT pay a firefighter or a police officer enough! Consider this folks; and try to focus: Several of you are complaining about giving them a 4% raise, in which they absolutely deserve anyhow - and really shouldn't hear a gripe about in the first place! Why on Earth would you not want to retain the most qualified and capable of persons to which you CALL when you are in your absolute most need? Put them down, tell them they aren't worth it, tell them this is ridiculous, but then tell me who you call when your precious family member is having a heart attack? Tell me who you call when someone is breaking into your house? Tell me what the value is on these things? Tell me why this service is not worth it when you never think twice before calling 911 and screaming to an operator that you need help now! These men and women do so much for you - and 95% of it is without your knowledge. These people run INTO sutuations that you and I run AWAY from because that's what WE expect. Not too long ago I saw a local McCook police officer throw his $7 meal away in the trash because he got a call when he sat down to eat. Did that sandwich come out of your tax money? No, it came out of his pocket! What are you doing at 3:00 in the wee morning hours? Sleeping? My guess is that there are police officers who would like to be home with their families too, however, they CHOSE to serve you and protect you while you mostly enjoy a peaceful quiet night. I guess the next time you find yourself with a house fire - get your extinguisher out and take care of it yourself. Don't call 911. Don't expect these overpaid angels to come to your mercy and barge through a flaming inferno to save your belongings while you run out and watch. Don't expect the paramedics to dallop in the blood of strangers, risking death and disease, while you gawk out your window wondering what the ambulance is doing next door. These men and women chose to serve you! These men and women pay the price everyday so you and I can function in a relatively normal society - while they deal with mostly the abnormal. I can't believe it - the least you can do is pay a little back in appreciation and in respect. But whether you do; or whether you don't; funny thing is that will STILL be there for you regardless. That sounds like a priceless service to me. So pay them! They most certainly deserve it! End of Story!

-- Posted by SWHUSKER on Sun, Jul 18, 2010, at 1:56 AM

The timing is terrible and the economy is not recovering at all. Do these people deserve a raise? Possibly but at a time when budgets are being cut and people being laid off this is not the time.

Just wait till the Bush tax cuts sunset in January and the efect that will have on the economy. We are headed toward a double dip and it is going to be even worse. But Obama and Bider are running round proclaiming this as the summer of recovery so it must be just a ok. Kansians never can get it their theories do not work government spending creates nothing at all.

-- Posted by Chaco1 on Sun, Jul 18, 2010, at 9:37 AM

So what do you all say now that the State of Nebraska is looking at a $70M shortfall and will be cutting the budget? This includes money paid to cities, counties, and schools. I have NOTHING against the FD or PD...they do their jobs and deserve something. However, is it the right time to be handing out such LARGE increases? Maybe it's a time to say thank you, give a modest increase and save back for the time when we won't be seeing as much money from the State.

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Wed, Jul 21, 2010, at 8:19 AM

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