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Commissioners accept credit, debit card plan

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

McCOOK, Nebraska -- The Red Willow County Commissioners unanimously voted to allow county departments to sign up for a credit card service program provided by the Nebraska.gov website.

The decision Monday will give county entities the ability to accept credit or debit cards for payment of services.

The Red Willow County Clerk's office plans to spearhead use of the program and County Clerk Pauletta Gerver said she had been told by an official in another county that their participation had tremendously reduced the number of bad checks received.

Red Willow County Health Department Director Darcey Hansen expressed interest in the program and being able to accept credit and debit card payments for services, but said she would like to see how the program works for the County Clerk's office before signing up the Health Department.

The program offers minimal upfront expense, charging the county a $100 fee for each credit card terminal installed. Thereafter a 2.49 percent transaction fee is charged to the customer each time the terminal is used.

The scenario may not be enticing for county residents paying their property taxes, with $1000 equating to $24.90 in additional fees, but the convenience will likely be worth the minimal fee for smaller transactions. Gerver explained that many of the county clerk's office transactions entail the faxing and copying of items at an average of $5 charged. That amount would result in a 12-cent fee that would likely be worth it to customers for the convenience of giving a credit card number over the phone, rather than hand-delivering or mailing a payment.

Commissioners also approved proceeding forward with a Construction Manager at Risk Contract for the construction of a new Red Willow County Law Enforcement Center. The approval allows the architect, Prohaska & Associates of Omaha, to proceed with advertising for a construction manager for the project.

County Surveyor Gary Dicenta, who is also a surveyor for Miller and Associates Consulting Engineers of McCook, presented County Commissioners with preliminary plans for a truck and farm equipment repair shop that hopes to be located just west of McCook. The business intends to construct a new facility at the southeast corner of the intersection between County Roads 383 and 716, just west of McCook and within the two mile extra-territorial jurisdiction of the City of McCook.

Discussion of the project and the lack of county zoning regulations establishing guidelines for the scenario, led to Dicenta suggesting that subdivision regulations be setup the same between the city and Red Willow County. Dicenta referenced county zoning regulations that are being drafted by a consulting firm County Commissioners hired in 2010. The firm targeted early 2012 for completion of the project, which includes updating existing and creating new county zoning regulations.

The revised regulations will address new subdivisions that may be created within the City of McCook's two-mile jurisdiction, requiring plans to be approved by both the county and the city, according to a 2010 County Commissioner's meeting.

Dicenta added that the county had no input on the Calabria Subdivision, constructed in 2001 northeast of McCook, and should have input on projects within the two-mile radius.

County Commissioner Earl McNutt echoed Dicenta's comments and said "It would be a common sense move to allow the county to have some say in it."

The group discussed the county being responsible for the maintenance of all existing roads outside of city limits, regardless of the two mile radius, as well as the effect of traffic increases resulting from new subdivisions or businesses that are constructed within that area.

The farm equipment repair shop project was also presented to the McCook Planning Commission for consideration, Monday evening, as the property is located in an agriculture district and would require a special exception. Consideration of the exception was postponed by the Planning Commission, until a April 9 meeting, at the recommendation of City Attorney Nate Schneider who was concerned that notice requirements to adjacent property owners may not have been met.

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