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Sunday, May 1, 2016

City Council ponders hiring Scottsbluff firm

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

McCOOK, Nebraska -- City staff will recommend the McCook City Council hire Howard Olsen of Simmons Olsen Law Firm in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, to perform work that City Attorney Nate Schneider has deemed necessary to determine whether two council members should forfeit their positions. The recommendation will be considered Thursday evening, 7:30 p.m., during their semi-monthly meeting at Memorial Auditorium.

Since taking office Councilman Shane Hilker was convicted by Schneider of a city ordinance violation for harboring a potentially vicious dog and Councilman Aaron Kircher was convicted by County Attorney Paul Wood of a misdemeanor offense for disturbing the peace.

Olsen has agreed to perform the services for an amount not to exceed $1,000. The additional expense of hiring Olsen to aid in resolving the discrepancy between city ordinance and state statute comes a few months after city staff paid American Legal Publishing Corp. more than $8,000 in April, to update the McCook Code of Ordinance Book. The revisions and updating of the code book took several years to complete and were described by city staff as revisions that would bring the ordinance book up to state and federal requirements.

During the meeting Red Willow County Commissioner Earl McNutt will make a presentation to council members regarding the potential construction of a new county jail facility. McNutt told the Gazette Wednesday morning that he intends to simply bring the council up to speed on where the county is with the project and invite them to attend Monday's meeting.

McNutt plans to discuss the status of the schematic design phase of the project and said that no official vote of the county commissioners had yet occurred, "but that should be the next step."

The city property surplus auction on Nov. 9 received $5,789 from the sale of 16 vehicles, more than 60 bicycles and a few other items. Councilors will receive and file a report of the auction results, which featured one police cruiser that was being retired and the remainder of the vehicles being ones that had been towed off of city streets, typically not worth the expense of the towing bill to their owners, according to Chief of Police Isaac Brown.

Brown said said the city fared a little better than in recent years, likely because of the high price of scrap metal.

Other items on the consent and regular agenda:

* An extension for the block grant has been requested for the McCook library boiler and chiller replacement project that will push completion of the project to no later than March 2012. City staff has indicated the contractor needs additional time to receive equipment as well as to perform the installation. Similarly, the contractor for the window portion of the city shop upgrade project has asked for a time extension due to delays on the manufacturing side. That contractor has indicated the delay in manufacturing to be another three to four weeks and installation to take less than one week.

* The Mayor's appointments to represent McCook on the Administrative Board for the Red Willow County Regional Economic Development Plan will be considered for ratification. The identity of the mayor's appointment was not revealed on the meeting agenda released prior to the meeting.

* Bid specifications for a new mini-rescue pumper fire truck will be considered for approval. Purchase of the truck has previously been approved in the 2011-12 budget and approval of the bid specs includes setting the date to receive bids by, as Jan. 4, 2012.

* All bids received for the new police package vehicle for the police department are recommended to be rejected by city staff and the purchase rebid. All bids received were in excess of the $23,000 amount approved for the project. Bid specifications will also be considered so that the rebidding process can begin right away.

* Frenchman Valley Cooperative, Inc., has been recommended by the Fuel Contract Advisory Committee for the city to enter into an agreement with to purchase fuel for government vehicles for calendar year 2012.

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Why hire these guys? Can't our State Attorney General answer this ordeal? I'd sure think so. Don't waste taxpayer money!

-- Posted by Pierre on Wed, Dec 7, 2011, at 6:56 PM

I don't understand why the City Attorney can't provide a legal opinion to the city council.

-- Posted by heymicahs mom on Wed, Dec 7, 2011, at 10:32 PM

This has gone way past being ridiculous. The AG of the state should give guidance and then the City attorney make the final ruling and move on. We do not need to hire outside firms to make a decision on this. Quit wasting our tax money on rulings, as I believe (to most people) the charges these two men have against them does not warrent them to step down.

-- Posted by Ed on Thu, Dec 8, 2011, at 12:46 AM

Our city and county are adept at wasting our tax dollar on outside parties to have work done here, that could be legally and legitimately done here, that would keep money here. Ask them who they are going to have design and build the new buildings the taxpayers are funding...then ask them if we should shop local for Christmas.

-- Posted by speak-e-z on Thu, Dec 8, 2011, at 7:58 AM

The city did ask for a ruling from the State AG's office and since it is not a state issue they could not give a ruling. The city attorney did give an opinion however since the city attorney works for the city (council members) it could be viewed as a conflict of interest and any/all action of the council could be voided if the members in question are on the council and voting. That said, the law is vague and seems to over reach on the offenses the two were convicted of.

-- Posted by dennis on Thu, Dec 8, 2011, at 8:31 AM

Here we go again with the spending of money. There are more reasons to shop in the city than go to other places, but why?? Not all people in the city can afford the prices. Incomes designates that. I'm sure all on the city council including the mayor make enough to not worry about the bills they get each month just to live here. But, the blind eye is out when others who try to survive get behind in funds.

Not by squandering money, but by not having enough to go around. It's not their fault is it?? More taxes and increases in utilities are the most of it. Groceries are the next. I would like the mayor and the city council give one good reason not to shop other places. They have give fair reasons so far. I haven't heard anything that is a good one to keep all here to shop at local stores. Since the big place out west came in and they said that the little stores have to gain a "nitch" on selling their products, most of them closed. And the place out west doesn't have everything that the little stores had before they came it. McCook is going down the tubes slowly and gaining speed. When is enough, enough???

-- Posted by edbru on Thu, Dec 8, 2011, at 12:17 PM

An out of town attorney was recommended so there would not a conflict of interest.

-- Posted by dennis on Thu, Dec 8, 2011, at 2:50 PM

Sorry for derailing discussion. I can understand the conflict of interest, hence the term bias.

-- Posted by speak-e-z on Thu, Dec 8, 2011, at 3:52 PM

Pay me $1000 and I will tell you what you should do. Make it simple so there is no question in future. Felony gone. Misdemeanor/city citation they stay. If you kick due to a simple noise violation then you would open up the arguement for speeding tickets and parking tickets ect. To me this sounds like the few trying to stir the pot because they are unhappy and are looking for a technicality to serve some vendetta they have against the council members. As for Dennis stand up and do your job. You can't please everyone so do what you are supposed to do and make a decision.

-- Posted by carlsonl on Thu, Dec 8, 2011, at 5:49 PM

Another thing. If it is a state law how is it not a state issue. If not a state issue then where is the concern for making a legal ruling on a state law that isn't a state issue. Sounds to me the McCook can decide what the criteria is here.

-- Posted by carlsonl on Thu, Dec 8, 2011, at 5:53 PM

This is a little off track of the main topic, but to those who continually gripe at the Mayor for promoting shopping in McCook, I have a few questions. When you go out of town to shop do you factor in the cost of gasoline and your time? Does the city you go to have a sales tax (most likely). Please tell me how you just break even let alone save money!!??

-- Posted by Ed on Fri, Dec 9, 2011, at 2:14 AM

I am willing to bet most of the out of town shopping takes place when the person has already planned a trip to the location. Be it a vacation, to see family ect. Also another source of shopping that would be out of town would be the internet and while prices tend to be cheaper on it you do have to watch shipping cost because at times it can cost you more in long run. It doesn't matter really how a person shops they are most likely doing it because they have found a savings for them doing it their way.

-- Posted by carlsonl on Fri, Dec 9, 2011, at 11:46 AM

Again, I apologize for derailing conversation. Ed, you missed the point.

I see the county used Prochaska & Associates as the design phase is underway on the jail. Does Red Willow County have any architects or engineers that could have done this/these job/s? Did they give them the option? If they did give them the option and the bid was lower in Omaha, why didn't we still shop local? Would it have been a conflict of interest to use local architects?

-- Posted by speak-e-z on Fri, Dec 9, 2011, at 2:42 PM

Could we have gotten the "same or a similar product" right here in McCook? Could we save on shipping costs by using a local design and contracting firm? It sure seems like our schools and city seem to look to Omaha first when making decisions like this. Please tell me how I am wrong in my thinking and I'll retract my statements.

-- Posted by speak-e-z on Fri, Dec 9, 2011, at 2:45 PM

Once again spend money to place the monkey on someone else's back. Needlessly at that. I agree with carlsonl, keep it simple. This whole situation seems like a vendetta to me.

-- Posted by ruby4 on Fri, Dec 9, 2011, at 5:27 PM

Speak-e-z. To really be able to answer your question a person would have to be able to look at the blueprints. Depending on the structural design of the the building it would depend if you could get the material in the area. As far as most of the finishing stuff you probably could. As far as contractors a person would also need to know what type of structure it has. I don't believe we have anyone in the McCook area that does heavy steel structure(not 100% sure)

As a person that previously worked with a design and management style company in the field of building ethanol plants. We as an outside company tried to hire and shop local for as much stuff as we could and would bring in the outside contractors and suppliers for the stuff we couldn't. But, this doesn't mean that any company brought in for this job would do the same.

-- Posted by carlsonl on Sat, Dec 10, 2011, at 4:22 PM

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