(Bruce Crosby/McCook Daily Gazette)
Mary Kircher, director of the housing committee of the McCook Economic Development Corp., sent e-mails to commissioners last week telling them that she won't be needing the house that the county donated for the committee's rehabilitation project.
County board chairman Earl McNutt said during a commissioners' meeting Monday morning that commissioners understood that the City of McCook was going to donate a lot at the corner of East Second and C, that the county was going to donate the former beauty salon that the county owns next door to the courthouse, and that the MEDC would use a housing grant to rehabilitate it and sell it.
The city is now accepting offers on the corner lot.
Kircher wrote to commissioners that she feels she can no longer keep contractors waiting and that she has only 12 months left on a housing rehab grant. Because of the complications and uncertainties, she and her committee have decided not to proceed with the project, she wrote to commissioners.
Kircher wrote that she is disappointed that the project is not proceeding as she had hoped, because it addressed a need for affordable housing and it returned a property to the tax rolls.
In preparation of the house's move from Norris Avenue to East Second, the county paid $4,800 to remove asbestos from the former beauty shop. McNutt said Monday that it could cost county tax payers up to $20,000 to demolish it. The asbestos would have to have been removed even if the house is torn down, McNutt said.
Fellow commissioner Steve Downer said the county "is in no hurry" to knock the house down, but if someone wants to make the county an offer to purchase it (hint: offer at least enough to pay the asbestos removal bill), commissioners are more than willing to discuss it.
The house must be moved from the lot at 516 Norris.
Commissioners and budget clerk Shirley Volz continued Monday morning to work on the county's 2011-2012 budget, trying to find a happy, conservative balance among revenues and expenses and taxes.
Commissioners want to keep the tax levy at or near the current 39-cent levy. Volz said the county's valuation has increased, and commissioners, elected officials and department heads have cut expenses and/or held the line on increases.
Very preliminary figures indicate that commissioners may come close to their 39 cents, despite not having a cushion in the inheritance tax, from which they transfer funds when they're needed throughout the year.
Commissioners approved a resolution to allocate these final tax levies for county subdivisions:
Bartley Rural Fire District, levy rate (set for all rural fire departments by the MFO, Mutual Finance Organization) $0.038000; tax dollars, $34,225.79
Beaver Valley Fire District, levy rate, $0.038000; tax dollars, $33,246.93.
Indianola Rural Fire District, levy rate, $0.038000; tax dollars, $41,450.22.
Red Willow Western Rural Fire District, levy rate, $0.038000; tax dollars, $70,280.10.
Danbury Cemetery, levy rate, $0.014595; tax dollars, $3,745.03.
Hamburg Cemetery, levy rate, $0.004216; tax dollars, $800.02.
Lebanon Cemetery, levy rate, $0.020801; tax dollars, $2,999.99.
High Plains Historical Society, levy rate, $0.002074; tax dollars, $15,813.87.