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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Several new city fees recommended

Friday, January 14, 2011

McCOOK, Nebraska -- CPA firm, Almquist Maltzahn Galloway & Luth of Grand Island has completed a financial audit of the city's fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2010. In the report the firm lists 17 recommendations for city staff to consider, among them were recommendations to implement a water tap fee; a fire call service fee; a review of operations of the city pool for possible revenue increases; and a review of the gas franchise fee for possible increases.

Representatives of the accountant firm will be present for questioning, Monday evening, during the McCook City Council's semi-monthly meeting, 7:30 p.m., at council chambers.

Council will receive and file the city's financial report for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2010, as well as the financial audit.

The municipal facilities contract between the city and architect firm, Prochaska & Associates of Omaha, will be presented for the mayor to sign. City staff has recommended approval of the $5,218,200 contract that anticipates a July 2011, construction start date and September 2012, substantial completion date. Representatives of the firm will be at the meeting to update council members on activities and future steps of the project.

City staff will also recommend approval of a resolution for the formation of the City of McCook Leasing Corporation, which is a necessary step in the bond issuance process and funding of the new municipal facility.

Public hearings are scheduled to discuss a zoning ordinance change that would allow individual domestic wind turbines in the agricultural district and a special exception request from Hancock Gravel & Ready-Mix Inc.

The gravel operation is seeking a special exception to expand their operation on Road 714 onto property owned by Sid and Susan Doak. The expansion is not anticipated to lengthen hours of operation, noise or traffic beyond what is presently occurring, according to the request.

Council members will review a report detailing application materials that the city is filing on behalf of the McCook Housing Agency. City staff has submitted a grant application for the agency to assist with funding needed to rehabilitate the former East Ward School site. The East Ward Village project is an approximate four million dollar, 27 unit housing project, with 15 of the units to be located in the East Ward building after renovation and an additional 12 units built on the former playground.

Other items on the consent agenda:

* The 2010 maintenance agreement between the city and the Nebraska Department of Roads will be presented for the mayor to sign. The document certifies that all roadway surface maintenance has been accomplished as per terms of the maintenance agreement between the two entities.

* Council will receive and file the city's financial report for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2010, as well as a financial audit performed by CPA firm, Almquist Maltzahn Galloway & Luth of Grand Island.

* An ordinance will be presented that authorizes the sale of a city owned lot to the McCook Housing agency for $15,025. The lot to be sold is a portion of the property the city acquired from Merilyn Schaffer and Eileen Hubert.

* Membership requirements for the Loan Committee will be clarified, per the McCook Economic Development Plan, via an introduced ordinance.

* The third and final reading of an ordinance change that will give permanent status to existing stick built homes, in business commercial and light industrial zone, will be presented. The change will also remove some residential improvement restrictions that were previously in place in those zones.

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Why don't they just call them new "TAXES"? The McCook city government is getting so big they will soon be the only employer in McCook. I am beginning to think that this local government wants all businesses reporting to them. I don't think they have ever seen a tax increase that they haven't liked. They levy didn't go up but your property values sure did and then the leadership blamed the county. What a bunch of tax and spend liberals we have in the city leadership.

-- Posted by sleeper on Sat, Jan 15, 2011, at 3:40 PM

sleeper, please refer to ALL the reports that indicate that the city of McCook has lower taxes than nearly every First Class City in the state of Nebraska. Increase in user fees--if implemented--would help cover the cost to the city of those services instead of taking funds from the general fund. If you do not want to use the service then you would not pay the fee. Also the city did not blame the county for increase valuation. The state sets what property should be valued at. I would also argue that if your property value remained the same as when you purchased it, I would doubt you would want to sell it for that price, instead you would want current value. You pay more in property taxes but your property is worth more...only seems fair.

-- Posted by dennis on Mon, Jan 17, 2011, at 8:28 AM

Here we go again...the blame game. Stop blaming EVERYTHING you don't like on "liberals". You know there are Republicans leading our City also.

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Mon, Jan 17, 2011, at 8:28 AM

Everyone on the council except for one is a registered Republican and the other doesn't register with a party but it really doesn't matter because the things that define a Republican, Democrat, Independent or any other party really don't come into play in a small local board that is elected on a non-partisan ballot. Republicans can act like liberals and Democrats can act like conservatives, much is based on local politics not national politics so the classic "liberal" or "conservative" labels really don't fit into this style of politics.

-- Posted by McCook1 on Mon, Jan 17, 2011, at 11:20 AM


I love how you as the mayor are such an avid blogger.

If the taxes are so darn low then why isn't anybody relocating a business here without being tied to some government program (i.e. Federal earmarks from Ben Nelson for 21CSI whom he gets a ton of campaign contributions in exchange). What will you to recommend to name after him next? Tell me what has happen to McCook's population for the past twelve years since implementing a local tax to grow the population. I'll tell you it is declining and no amount of money you take and spend on your personal monument building will change that. City spending to energize the local economy is going to just create a pile of debt to be cleaned up by the businesses and individuals that pay your taxes.

-- Posted by sleeper on Mon, Jan 17, 2011, at 7:47 PM

Just think where we would be IF we did not have the Econmoic group and low taxes on property? No Valmont, No Work Camp. No CSI. No Keystone. No new reserve/guard building. The list continues. Only a few counties in Eastern Nebraska have seen population growth. Yes the city could just quit trying to reverse the population loss but I am not sure that is what the majority of people want. (I am a Republican that voted for Hagel but I fully realize now how much Nelson has done for McCook and this area--again the Work Camp, Valmont, the hospital addition, the armory/guard builduing, soon the college activity center and we would not have commercial air service and such a nice airport without his efforts). And please check the facts on taxes. McCook's property tax are lower that the average First Class city. Sales tax levy is about the same and most "fees" are below the average. I love this town! Wish you did also.

-- Posted by dennis on Tue, Jan 18, 2011, at 3:59 PM

So in your book love for the city of McCook means handing over more money to the city government. Now that is a cheap shot Dennis, to say that anyone who opposes your taxes and spending doesn't love this city. But that is what it has come to with you as the mayor, either keep your mouth shut on our taxes and spending or your branded as one who doesn't love the town.

-- Posted by sleeper on Tue, Jan 18, 2011, at 5:39 PM

Also, Ben Nelson hasn't spend one dime of his own money investing in McCook. If the Keystone was such a great business venture why didn't good old Ben invest some of his millions into it rather than collecting taxes and redistributing it back to McCook. It has always been with government money and that it what is so puzzling to understand why people think he is so great. He was the deciding vote to destroy the best healthcare system in the world and turn it over to a bunch of socialist. So, spending tax dollars makes you feel good and love the town? Hopefully more people start to figure out it is time for the government to do less instead of more because if not it will bankrupt this nation.

-- Posted by sleeper on Tue, Jan 18, 2011, at 5:49 PM

Sleeper, I apologize if you felt it was a cheap shot. My point is --can you show me even one of your blogs where you had something positive to say about McCook? Again I am sorry for any factual errors I make and welcome folks to point them out so I can accept responsibility for them and correct them. (Again, I am not saying I like what Senator Nelson did on health care but you are incorrect about him spending his own cash on McCook--examples include but are not limited to the Nelson Institute, Vision McCook, Heritage Square...I am fine with you or others opposing him. He can fight his own battles. However distasteful it might be, even for a Rebublican, we can not over-look the fact that his efforts have helped this area greatly.)

-- Posted by dennis on Wed, Jan 19, 2011, at 8:52 AM

OK. Everything you do is viewed as a positive for McCook and anytime I point out that the government is spending too much it will be view as negative. This is probably the primary reason more people don't get involved in the city government because opposing viewpoints to growing the local government now is viewed as a negative toward the city of McCook and then that individual is accused of not loving the town. I get it now. Just go to work, pay your taxes and above all don't criticize the public officials.

-- Posted by sleeper on Wed, Jan 19, 2011, at 9:40 AM

Give me a call sleeper and we can meet face to face and discuss things. Again I apologize for any and all errors of fact that I have made.

-- Posted by dennis on Wed, Jan 19, 2011, at 11:41 AM

Hey sleeper, don't like the way the city is being run? 2 solutions to that. Next election for city council, put your name on the ballot and get elected and change things.

2nd..don't let the door hit you on the way out of town.

-- Posted by goarmy67 on Wed, Jan 19, 2011, at 11:35 PM

@ Sleeper,

Just an observation: You claim, and I paraphrase because I find difficulty in differentiating where YOUR thoughts and words end and someone else's quotes begin so if I haven't read you correctly or make a misinterpretation, feel free set me straight.

You claim that whatever you state is found to be negative and go so far as to write "Now that is a cheap shot Dennis," I am viewing this from the outside in this fashion........

1. You have made derogatory comments about the City of McCook and Dennis.

2. Dennis appears to be defending both himself and the City of which he is the Mayor of (accepting, of course that the blogger going by the name "Dennis" IS indeed the Mayor and not a blogger) and in the course of defending himself has returned fire in your direction.*

3. Dennis seems interested in getting the facts on the table with you.

*I want to get this square, are you offended that someone which you have written about may defend them self and in turn oppose your view / opinion? If so, either thicken your skin or don't put yourself in the position of being recanted upon.

I think you might find Dennis to be a very good listener if you have ideas which might improve a current procedure or process. He has offered to have a face to face with you, take him up on it. If

you choose NOT to then your comments have really just been rants. Anyone can identify a problem, only those which actively seek a solution can be considered a useful participant.

To Wondering: will you please quit telling non progressives to throw their hat in the ring for City Council! We fought non progressives for years and we are going to be playing catch up for quite some time yet. I would sure hate to see one of these "let it ride" people get a foothold, that would be detrimental to the progress we can finally see happening.

-- Posted by Nick Mercy on Thu, Jan 20, 2011, at 1:34 AM

No Nick I will not stop telling them to run for office, as long as they rant and rave about what they consider are problems with the city.

If they truely believe there are problems they need to do something about it, and the best thing is to run for office.

Usually people like that will never run for office anyway, they just like to hear themselves talk.....

-- Posted by goarmy67 on Thu, Jan 20, 2011, at 8:53 AM

dennis, nick mercy and wondering70,

Your right. I give up. I have learned my lesson. Some final thoughts.....

Maybe I already have had my face to face with dennis.

Be careful for what you wish for, because pretty soon more business owners might start saying they give up too. Then you "progressives" can look to the people who do not pay any taxes at all to fund the government. Gee, when the businesses close then the former employees can get unemployment for the rest of their lives funded by China.

Run for office if you want things to change - what a crock. Most people that pay a lot in taxes every year don't have time to run cities, because they are too busy working on the real economic growth in this country that pays for the government. And when they speak out against more government spending, the "progressives" go nuts and label them the "let it ride" bunch.

-- Posted by sleeper on Thu, Jan 20, 2011, at 6:21 PM


This isn't meant to be offensive, just curious about your background.

How long have you been in the McCook area? I have battled with the "let it ride" league in the early 80's all the way through the mid 90's. Their goal: spend no money on the most basic upkeep and keep the taxes down. This way when they go to the grocery store, they don't have to avoid disgruntled tax payers. The problem with that mindset is that NOW we are replacing what could have been repaired a decade ago at a much higher rate.

The current City Administration not only has to face that but deal with necessary repairs today. They do this to assure that we have a town tomorrow, next year and next decade. (Once things are ignored beyond the point of no return, it becomes fiscally impossible to recoup.). How many towns have faded away right in South West Nebraska? 40 miles in any direction and you will find a town that doesn't even have a grocery store. THAT my friend is what keeps businesses away from a community.

I don't believe our taxes are outrageous by any standard in comparison to other Cities of similar structure, population and services. I can tell you that the cost of living is cheaper here than in a larger city so money lost in this supposed high taxation zone is equaled out by lower costs for basic needs.

There have been multiple small businesses spring up in McCook over the past 4 years without government assistance by the way. Perhaps not companies that employ 50 or more but then again, how many or those companies have closed in resent years. What's the current unemployment rate.

"The first sign of going out of business is no bathroom tissue in the employee restroom.". When you fail to take care of the most essential elements of business, your next step is down-sizing, which by extension leads to an obvious loss of resources and support, and ultimately a closed sign on the door. City Government is no different than a business, except when money for the essentials isn't there they turn to the tax payer rather than their customers. Those that complain of increased taxed must also no longer drink milk or east roast beef or buy gasoline as those are but 3 examples of inflated pricing over the past year. OUR City Government has doen a very satisfactory job of managing finances, yet they are the targets of finger pointers always.

You have to take care of business folks, sometimes you have to raise the price of milk to make sure the sewer main gets repaired.


-- Posted by Nick Mercy on Fri, Jan 21, 2011, at 1:12 PM

@ sleeper. If I might, allow me ask a question.

Do you wish to retain the services that you currently enjoy in the City of McCook. Shopping, Parks, Educational Institutions, Medical, Public Activities?

-- Posted by PensiveObserver on Fri, Jan 21, 2011, at 7:14 PM

milk and sewers. what about the guy that goes to work everyday and barly brings home enough to pay the cable bill? you can do without milk but when the water gets shut off life stinks.

i put in 32 hrs a week cause thats all they give me and my rent never goes down but its ok to charge more for the water, hey why not.

why dont all these new business that nick is talking abut ever hire anyone? b ecause they are one and two people shops. the only one they help is their own bank accounts. we need a break and the city isnt helping out at all. more more more.

milk and sewers- let em go and they both stick. what a stupid comment.

-- Posted by BTWinecleff on Fri, Jan 21, 2011, at 8:19 PM

medical schools and parks by the way. i dont think we can brag about that here. i cant even go to the dr cause i cant afford it.

-- Posted by BTWinecleff on Fri, Jan 21, 2011, at 8:21 PM


You understand that I was tying 2 separate but like topics together metaphorically right?

Never mind that. I'm sorry that you are running into difficult times, truly. There are many out there struggling with you / us. I'm glad to see that you have a job which is not so easy to say for many in the country right now. I understand your frustrations.

-- Posted by Nick Mercy on Sat, Jan 22, 2011, at 6:32 AM

Can someone explain to me something. Why would anyone own property. Let me explain.

Say for example I purchased my Home 10 years ago for $40k. I invested $30k into the home to improve it's livability (windows, roof, insulation, furnace, a/c, doors, storage, fence, ugs, softener etc., etc) Currently we average approximately $2000 dollars per year upkeep. (lawn & landscape care, regular maintenance items, and personal service) 10 year's X $2k = $20k. Our current property tax rate is approx. $1300 per year. Average over 10 years about $1100 (and not going down)

Current county valuation on home $68k. Current Market value of home $78k. (could prob. get around $85k on market if patient.) anyhow this leads me to my point.

10 years

$40k purchase

$30k upgrades

$20k upkeep

$11k tax

$10k insurance

Total $111k

Current max sale price $85k

Loss - $26k. And this does not include the interest paid.

Most individuals who are home owners tend to keep their homes, and or purhcase new ones and own them for 30 years or more. So this $26k could easily increase to $75-100k loss over those 30 years. I believe over the past 10 years I have only seen a property valuation increase of approximately $9k. So in the long run owning seems to do nothing but dig a whole. Can anyone give me more of a reason to own?

-- Posted by cplcac on Fri, Jan 28, 2011, at 5:14 AM
Response by Croswind:
A house is not an investment, it's a place to live. You've lived in your home for 2600 a year; not a bad price.


Good point :-). I was expecting to get the age old rant of paying my dues, etc. etc. Hopefully over time that does not continue to increase. Thank you.

-- Posted by cplcac on Fri, Jan 28, 2011, at 6:27 PM

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