McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council will direct city staff to declare notice of vacancies for the seats formerly occupied by Council members Aaron Kircher and Shane Hilker, Tuesday evening, 7:30 p.m., during their semi-monthly meeting at Memorial Auditorium.
According to City Attorney Nate Schneider, Mayor Dennis Berry has the right to call a special election in lieu of filling the vacated positions via the appointment process. A special election would put selection of the two City Council positions up to voters in the area, as opposed to being chosen by the three current City Council members.
According to Red Willow County Clerk Pauletta Gerver the special election that took place in 2007 cost approximately $6,000 to carry out. Gerver approximated cost for one today to be between $6,000 and $8,000.
If a special election is not the preferred avenue for Berry, the vacated seats will be filled via the appointment process. The appointment process will begin with public notice posting the vacancies then placing the item on the agenda for the next city council meeting. At that meeting Berry will submit the names of potential council members to be voted on by himself and Council members Mike Gonzales and Jerry Calvin. If a majority vote is received in favor of one of Berry's nominees, the position will be deemed filled.
City Council will also coordinate a public hearing during the meeting to discuss potential water and sewer upgrades that would require an additional rate increase. Several projects have been considered eligible for funding in conjunction with the required cation waste project that has already been budgeted for.
Deciding to proceed with those projects would save the city money in the long run, as they would qualify for a 20 percent loan forgiveness, but the remaining 80 percent would require loan funds and an additional water and sewer rate increase. That increase would be in addition to one that in September caused citizens to accuse city council members of being spend happy and say that even a minimal rate increase was more than they could handle.