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City to take legal action against property owners

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

McCOOK, Nebraska -- Council members voted to begin legal procedures surrounding the abatement of nuisance property owned by Steven Fritz, Monday evening, during its regular meeting at Council chambers. The property, at 200/300 Airport Road, was declared a nuisance by the McCook Board of Health in September after repeated attempts to resolve the issue.

Fritz and his wife appeared before council members during an October meeting and committed to have all nuisance issues with the property resolved prior to the Dec. 6 meeting. The Fritz's, "did absolutely nothing until 24 to 48 hours ago," said Chief of Police Isaac Brown. Brown explained that a trailer had been moved off the property Monday but said the rest of the nuisance issues, including several inoperable and unlicensed vehicles, were still unresolved and in some ways worse than before.

Neither of the Fritzes attended the meeting and council members voted unanimously to proceed with abatement, which starts with a court order.

Brown presented council members with pictures of Sharon Boley's nuisance property located at 8101⁄2 W. Fourth Street. At the Nov. 15 council meeting Boley was given until the Dec. 6 meeting to have water restored to her property. While the pictures showed, "remarkable progress to the property," according to Brown, water had still not been restored and further cleanup was needed.

"It doesn't appear to be a health hazard any more," said Mayor Dennis Berry, before motioning that the property was not to be inhabited until water was restored. Boley protested that the water disconnection was not her fault and said she was trying to get plumbers to evaluate the damage. Blaming a local plumber for badmouthing her to other plumbers and creating the plumber-challenged scenario she found herself in.

Councilman Calvin told Boley, "it may not be your fault, but it is your responsibility."

Council members further explained to Boley that it was a violation of city ordinance to reside in any home that did not have water service to it and it would be a criminal offense for her to continue to do so.

Mayor Berry explained to Boley that the council was sensitive to her circumstance, but that the water was disconnected to her residence in July of 2009 and she had more than ample time to resolve the issue.

Council members voted unanimously that the residence was not to be inhabited until water service was restored.

Revisions to the firework ordinance, adding a December selling period and expanding firework discharge times, were approved after a third and final reading of the ordinance. Firework suppliers will now be able to obtain a permit to sell fireworks, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Dec. 28 through Dec. 31. Discharge of the fireworks will be permitted, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Dec. 28 through Dec. 30 and 8 a.m. to 1 a.m., Dec. 31 through Jan. 1.

Council members approved an approximate 20 percent increase to the hangar rates at McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport, as recommended by the Airport Advisory Commission.

Monthly rates New/Previous;
Tee hangars$36/$30
Standard hangar$45/$42
Hangar for storage$65/$54
Large 40'x60'$64/$54
Small with bi-fold$79/$66
Large with bi-fold$93/$78

Recently re-elected council members, Dennis Berry, Jerry Calvin and Mike Gonzales were given their oath of office, along with newly elected councilman Shane Hilker who replaced Lonnie Anderson.

Dennis Berry was re-elected as Mayor after a nomination by Councilman Mike Gonzales and a second by Councilman Jerry Calvin. Calvin subsequently nominated Mike Gonzales as Vice-President of the council with Dennis Berry seconding that nomination, which was approved. Councilman Aaron Kircher, the most tenured council member, was previously Vice-President.

Dr. Richard Tubbs, Vice President of McCook Community College, spoke on behalf of the college during its second of three required public hearings concerning the relocation of the Daughters of the American Revolution building, located in Kelley Park. Dec. 20th is the scheduled final public hearing and the State Historical Preservation Office is onboard with the project, said Tubbs. The building, located near the intersection of East M and East Third Street, is being moved approximately 200 feet as part of the proposed events center that the college hopes to begin construction on in April of 2011. City Manager Kurt Fritsch said the relocation project will also aid in preservation of the building, with a new roof, windows, doors and foundation pad, among other improvements that are part of the project.

Northrop Grumman Corporation's request for an easement to perform drilling activities and soil sampling along East 16th Street and East C Street was approved with revisions. Councilman Aaron Kircher motioned for revisions to the wording in two areas of the request. Kircher said the changes would further protect the city and did so without creating additional hardship on the company.

The soil sampling stems from the 1986 discovery of trichloroethene impacted soil after the company closed its capacitor manufacturing plant, then known as TRW Inc. The company began procedures in 1993 to reverse the environmental damage caused, which have resulted in a significant reduction in the overall TCE concentrations, according to documents provided to the City Council.

Other items on the consent and regular agenda;

* A request from McCook Young Leaders to close a portion of Norris Avenue on Dec. 31 for the annual First Night McCook 2011 event was approved.

* Osage Ambulance was awarded the bid for a new 2011 ambulance, at $163,838.

* A recommendation from the Fuel Contract Advisory Committee to continue the fuel purchase agreement with Frenchman Valley Cooperative into 2011 was approved.

* Council approved a resolution forming a nonprofit corporation, with Berry, Kircher and Gonzales serving as board members, tasked with administering the bonds to be sold for the construction of the new Municipal Facility.


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