City Council considering 'blighted' tag

Monday, March 19, 2012

McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council will coordinate a public hearing, Monday evening, to discuss whether the majority of the downtown business district should be declared "conducive to ill health, the transmission of disease and crime and detrimental to public health and welfare."

The public hearing is scheduled during the city council's semi-monthly meeting, 7:30 p.m., at Memorial Auditorium.

The "blighted" and "substandard" designations, as defined by Nebraska Statute 18-2103, are being sought for the area to increase eligibility for additional future grants for downtown infrastructure, specifically Tax Increment Financing such as was utilized for the Keystone Business Center.

According to a study of Omaha Tax Increment Financing projects by Jack Dunn of the Progressive Research Institute of Nebraska, supporters of TIF credited it with producing economic growth in blighted areas and providing development incentives via a 15-year tax break. The same study cited opponents arguing that TIF plans had subsidized projects that would happen anyhow, shifted developer costs to the rest of the city and most often benefited persons of means, as opposed to blighted areas with high concentrations of poverty.

The same downtown area that the McCook City Council will consider for the designation, which encompasses all businesses on Norris Avenue from south of E Street to A Street in addition to most B Street businesses between East First Street and West Third Street, was previously designated as blighted and substandard in 1999.

A second public hearing will be coordinated to discuss a Downtown Revitalization Program. City staff is requesting authorization to apply for a $30,000 grant for the first phase of the program. The grant will require the city provide a $9,300 cash match and will be used to develop a comprehensive downtown revitalization plan. The second phase of the project, the construction phase, will subsequently have an allowable funding request of $350,000 with the city match to be $112,000.

A third public hearing will be coordinated to discuss the re-zoning from Light Industrial to Business Commercial of property at McCorkle Motors. The requested rezoning will allow the business to proceed with an expansion project at the location.

City staff has recommended that councilors subsequently suspend the three reading rule and approve an ordinance authorizing the rezone.

City Councilors will receive and file a claim for damages from Joe and Alanna Morosic of McCook. The claim seeks $175,000 as compensation for injuries suffered during a fall in March 2011.

According to the claim the fall occurred just outside the McCook Napa Auto Parts on a snow and ice packed sidewalk. The claim cites negligence on the part of city staff in allowing its snowplows to push snow and ice onto the sidewalk and taking no action to prevent or control the snow pile from melting and re-freezing, failing to properly clear and maintain the sidewalks.

Mr. Morosic sustained injuries that necessitate an emergency room visit, surgery, out-patient treatments and physical therapy.

Councilors typically take no action with received claims, other than to forward them on to their insurance carrier for review and appropriate action.

Other items on the consent and regular agenda:

* Deveny Chrysler Jeep Dodge of McCook will be considered to be awarded the bid for a new 2012 4-wheel drive Special Services Vehicle for the McCook Fire Department. The Deveny bid came is at $19,268.

* The annual Application for Public Transportation Assistance for the City of McCook will be considered for approval. The McCook Public Transit System would receive $63,965 in Federal assistance and $31,983 in State assistance, with the city providing $31,983.

* The Alliance for the Encouragement of the Visual and Performing Arts will be considered for a special liquor license for a fund raiser at the Fox Theatre in April.

* The McCook Fraternal Order of Eagles has requested a special liquor license for a dance and fund raiser at the Eagles Club in June.

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  • How is it that the City is responsible for snow and ice on the sidewalks? In fact, the property owners, in my opinion, should only have a limited liability issue regarding the clearing of walk ways during heavy snowfall. An effort to clear snow rather that a total disregard of it should be considered. If there was no attempt to make things safe then one could understand a lawsuit, but I don't believe this to be the case. If there is a surplus of snow and ice that has covered the ground, there is only so much time one can spend on clearing it away, and furthermore, there is only so much space with which one can dispose of the snow and ice, specifically at commercial locations. It isn't as though they can toss the snow back up into a yard that doesn't exist.

    This sounds to me like a case of hot coffee on the lap. If the conditions are too bad to walk around in, then perhaps there is a point to be made regarding the reduction of self risk. If it's not safe, don't do it. There is a whole agency known as OSHA which over regulates safety in the workplace, which causes the increased cost to the end consumer, for the costs involved with the frivolous over regulation of safety procedures. Should cases such as this excel, while the government is digging deeper into the American citizen's pocket, then it is merely a matter of time before there will be some sort of OSHA agency regulating the personal sector of this Country.

    This doesn't seem right to me. Did Mr. Morosic have health insurance to cover his injuries? I have visited NAPA frequently and I can say that they never seem to show a disregard for public safety. If there was snow pushed up on the sidewalk from snow plows, I'm sure it wasn't an intentional snow depository for the City, and was simply some minor spill over from the side of the snow plow blade. Furthermore, does anyone know if the parking area right in front of the entrance of NAPA was so snow packed that there was no parking there? If not, then HOW can the city be blamed for excessive snow on the sidewalk? Obviously it was cleared enough to get a vehicle parked there.

    I have nothing against any of the involved parties, I DO take issue with frivolous lawsuits however. For $175,000.00 I could take off work for 4.375 years. How much time was Mr. Morosic out of work? I would hope that he wasn't out for a full year, but if he was, then I would say that $175,000.00 is a pretty good annual wage. I know of surgeons that don't make that annual salary.

    Enter the lawyers and the monetary value of any issue becomes inflated beyond reasonable belief.

    -- Posted by Nick Mercy on Thu, Mar 22, 2012, at 6:04 PM
  • i've had my car buried almost ever time it snow more than 2 inches. the city has no empathy for the citizens and leave it to good old nick to bash someone for getting hurt. kick them while they're down nick. that sounds just like you. I

    I'm sure that the morosics have a family to feed, who picks up that tab? hope they aflac.

    its sad to see the lack of compassion for those that need it most.

    -- Posted by BTWinecleff on Thu, Mar 22, 2012, at 9:22 PM
  • So, $175,000 isn't frivolous to you, BT? Do you pay taxes? And the city makes it well known which streets are snow routes - the ones with green signs. Listen to the radio or read the paper. Maybe your car won't get buried.

    -- Posted by MakingApoint on Fri, Mar 23, 2012, at 9:03 PM
  • I don't see how stating that $175,000.00 is an exuberant amount for a annual income is kicking someone while they're down. As a matter of fact, I am to understand that a total of 4 to 6 months of lost wages was the extent of down time.

    Unless I'm mistaken, the Pain and Suffering reprisal was originally awarded to make a point to those which were responsible for injuries caused by gross negligence. This wasn't a case of steps in disrepair or bad wiring being ignored resulting in electric shock. This was a case of snow. Its unreasonable to expect a business to be swinging snow shovels 24/7. I'm guessing that Mr. Morosic was not clearing snow 24/7 as he was at NAPA at this point.

    6 months out, $175,000.00 requested,adds up to $350,000.00 annual income to replace. Down? I should hardly think so if his income is $350,000.00 per year.

    Should this case be settled, expect many more down and outs to file suit be cause tree branches struck someone on the head in the park during a 60 mile an hour wind, or a lightning strike to someone that poised themself against a chain link fence at the ball fields during an electrical storm.

    Self accountability is the key phase here. When we have to start putting up signs saying "Do not place body parts directly over flame" at cookouts, its time to lock everyone in a rubber room and call it quits on the human race. Use your heads people...... "Self Accountability"

    -- Posted by Nick Mercy on Sat, Mar 24, 2012, at 4:39 PM
  • i don't live on a green sign street and my car still gets burried. not to mention the piles of snow in the middle of the street that keep people from safe driving. gross neglengence is on the city they need to keep the streets cleen its their job. we pay them to keep us safe.

    ill bet that mr morosic will have years of pain yet to come. that propbably isnt enoutgh in my opinion.

    -- Posted by BTWinecleff on Sat, Mar 24, 2012, at 7:09 PM
  • BT, I haven't been in McCook very long, but I can tell that you are one of those which have a bone to pick with the government at any level.

    I have seen nothing but prompt and diligent efforts by the city, county, and state road departments when there is snow in the forecast or snow on the ground.

    I see both highways as well as city streets being prepared for adverse weather conditions. When it snows, the radio informs the public of streets to be cleared and then when the traffic is null, the city and state employees are up while everyone else is asleep, clearing streets and roads. When everyone rises from their restful slumber, I see sidewalks being scooped, and then I hear complaints about how the snow plows keep them awake at night, and it makes me wonder how these people were raised. My parents made it clear that my sister, my brother and myself were to be appreciative of those which worked to better someone else's situation. While you sloth, these people which you verbally flog are assuring, to the best of their abilities, that you are able to travel the roads, to go to work, to the store, to the doctor, and to school. It might seem as though you may be one of those which Nick Mercy called out as a "down and outer", just looking for a free meal, a lightning victim or that tree branch casualty. It's not an honorable vocation to acquire your wealth by the insurance payments of another.

    If it is a matter of no other choice, then so be it, but if you prefer the route of creating your own peril to do such, well shame on you!

    -- Posted by Sandra M on Sun, Mar 25, 2012, at 12:48 AM
  • I'm a member of the McCook Citizen Guild, AKA.... A citizen of McCook, a town of less than 8000 populous. With little effort, I can find the underwear size of at leaste 5 people by 7:30 AM by merely sitting in on a morning coffee session. That being stated, that is generally not the best source for reliable info, but I do know that Mr Morosic is back to work and has been for quite some time as he runs a business here in town.

    I can assure you that I am NOT a City Council member nor am I in any way part of City, County, State or Federal government. I DO rely heavily on those in the surrounding area, I believe you can figure out my annual wage by the content of my 1st comment. So you know quite a lot about me now....... Other than my name, and a rose by any other name still smells as sweet so what's in a name?

    -- Posted by Nick Mercy on Sun, Mar 25, 2012, at 2:24 PM
  • No, questioning a scenario is not indicative of a sloth. my point was that while everyone was asleep, road and street crews are out doing their thing. Nowhere did I say those that sleep while others work, were the ones questioning the "injury scenario", nor was I saying that those questioning the "injury scenario" were sloths.

    As far as asking what could be done to avoid these scenarios, it sounds as though you, McCook2012, are saying that the city is responsible for this injury and they should come up with a protocol to reduce the issue again. What more can the city do but clear the streets? I drove past the location where this incident reportedly occurred and I can see the parking there that Nick was referring to. Unless the city was clearing that parking area, then how could they have gotten the snow on the sidewalk? If the city is guilty of anything, it would be that they were guilty of over clearing the streets. If there was snow left on the sidewalks,it needs to be determined who left it there and secondly, was there more there than anywhere else in comparison to other commercial areas. When it snows, there will be slick areas, its Mother Nature's rule. If businesses want to keep their customers coming in, then they need to make it as assessable as possible. I agree that there is only so much one can do to make sidewalks clear and dry with ongoing thawing and freezing.

    I would sure hate to see some ridiculous amount of increased man power dedicated to an endeavour that was brought about by nothing more than an accident not caused by gross negligence.

    Accidents happen every day, most can be avoided by slowing down. Asking the city what they would do to avoid this again when it doesn't appear to be their issue only seems to be wasting the city's resources.

    -- Posted by Sandra M on Sun, Mar 25, 2012, at 6:02 PM
  • everyone's an expert. im beginning to feel like im the only one not employed by the city. you wont ever convince me that nick isnt somehow getting money from the city. he is always so pro city. 2012 is right nick has to be a council member. How else would he know the details. right I'd right, how bad could it be to help a family out when your responsible for their pain?

    -- Posted by BTWinecleff on Sun, Mar 25, 2012, at 9:56 PM
  • BTWinercleff, be careful how you assume things. we all know what happens when we assume. I read alot of these postings and it just seems to me that certain bloggers have a positive outlook like nick and certain ones always have to have something to wine about like yourself. just sayin.

    -- Posted by McCook Supporter on Mon, Mar 26, 2012, at 12:55 PM
  • BT, I don't understand the sarcasm but well worded. I couldn't have done better myself. Thank You.

    -- Posted by Nick Mercy on Tue, Mar 27, 2012, at 3:19 PM
  • One should scrutinize fully the source of information. When information comes from a proponent of a topic, often the information, if true, is at best bias. To discern and digest information based on common perception from multiple sources is often the wisest path to the truth.

    -- Posted by PensiveObserver on Tue, Mar 27, 2012, at 7:53 PM
  • I must have missed something. What sarcastic comment are you talking about Nick?

    -- Posted by Sandra M on Tue, Mar 27, 2012, at 8:18 PM
  • i was paraphrasing one of nicks comments from months back when Dennis was saying how "positive" nick was. I just wanted to show how well I knew nick. as nick said, "i couldnt have done better myself."see, I know him like the back of my hand. somehow, my comment was removed though. what ever happened to freedom of speech or freedom of the press for that matter? I guess nick is influencial or something.

    -- Posted by BTWinecleff on Tue, Mar 27, 2012, at 8:58 PM
  • BT, do you personally attack everyone in opposition to your opinion or just nick? You're getting well off the subject. You haven't convinced me that the $175,000 claim is not frivolous. I have a family to provide for but would never expect someone else to carry my cross because of my inattentiveness, carelessness or clumsiness. Wow!

    -- Posted by MakingApoint on Tue, Mar 27, 2012, at 9:58 PM
  • Pensive, long time no hear. I'm not sure who you are addressing but I fully concur. I can only think that you're referring to the "coffee session" comment of mine. I should tell you that I hardly take stock in coffee talk.

    -- Posted by Nick Mercy on Tue, Mar 27, 2012, at 11:18 PM
  • nick just needs to get off his high horse. he is always so sure that his opinion is fact. I don't think $175,000. is to much for a settlement for an injury case. nick made the "coffee in the lap" comparison and if it were really a true comparison then the tab would have been in the millions. like I said before right is right. if no one does anything to make their property's safer then some real bad accidents may happen. its a cheap price to pay to learn a much needed lesson. and nick, accidents aren't on purpose, how do you know he wasn't being careful? oh ya, you know the inside track being on city council i forgot.

    lying as a public leader isn't right nick.

    -- Posted by BTWinecleff on Thu, Mar 29, 2012, at 5:36 PM
  • how about this BT, put up your adress and I will come over personally to see how "safe" it is. Perhaps you need to make your property safer. When I sue you for 175k concider that a cheap lesson. I wish everytime I slipped and fell i could sue someone for 175k.

    -- Posted by president obama on Thu, Mar 29, 2012, at 10:03 PM
  • dawg, you can sue anyone you want. it doesn't mean you will win. I don't invit anyone over so no one gets hurt. smart see?

    makingapoint, I think I explained how 175000 isn't frivolous, a million dollars is frivolous.

    sandra, you havent been around long enough to know that this is how things work in mccook. finger pointing until everyone gets to tired to care anymore.

    nick, everyone can see right through your cover up. Give up, there is only so many people on the council. when I go to the meetings, I know that I'm staring right at you.

    p.o. I think you are telling nick that he needs to do some reserch before start beginning to act as the judge and jury

    -- Posted by BTWinecleff on Thu, Mar 29, 2012, at 11:38 PM
  • BT, you are correct sir, but that goes for not only Nick but all with opinions on this site. I suspect that your comments are too just opinions rather than stone facts.

    Consider that you must be careful, calling out your neighbor for not painting his fence.

    -- Posted by PensiveObserver on Sat, Mar 31, 2012, at 9:22 AM
  • BT, in due time I will reveal my true identity, but not because you and McCook2012 are razzing me to do so. I can assure you that I am NOT a part of any government position, and I will leave it with that. I only say this as it is not fair to allow you to lead others to believe that I am part of the City Council when I am not.

    If you are waiting on the edge of your seat for that day of revelation; however, it won't be soon. I still have work to do.

    If a law suit needs to be filed to cover expenses, then let it cover expenses, 6 months of honest income if that was what was lost. This excessive and inflated request for over the top compensation only begets further law suits.... perhaps filed against someone close to you. If the City was, and I don't believe the City was, but if it was responsible for the injury, how about an honest expense accounting of lost wages and unpaid medical expenses, complete with receipts. There must be receipts involved. At my place of work, we don't compensate for road expenses without receipts.

    In short: if lost wages were $21,000.00, some motel and travel expenses were $3,000.00, then $24,000.00 suit, plus perhaps the cost of the lawyer, what do you suppose? Another $32,000.00 dollars?, then the total suit would be $56,000.00. I'm joking about the lawyer fee, although a $4,500.00 fee isn't out of the question here. So rather than a Pull a Number Out of The Hat figure of $175,000.00, stick with actual costs. Again, this isn't a matter of Gross Negligence, it's a matter of recouping expenses incurred.

    (Now for the record) I am not saying that the lost wages were $21,000.00 and the lawyer fee is $4,500.00) I have no idea of the actual figures.... I have been around the loop though and make these numerical calculations strictly on my own experiences.

    -- Now I'm doing disclaimers on my opinionated comments-

    -- Posted by Nick Mercy on Sat, Mar 31, 2012, at 10:22 AM
  • what an ego nick. everybody wants to know the true identity of nick mercy. please tell us who you are, we beg you!

    a celebrity is with us everyone!

    -- Posted by BTWinecleff on Mon, Apr 2, 2012, at 10:33 PM
  • BT, I simply don't understand the fascination that some, namely you, have with my true identity. How in the world does it make a difference? My comments are either valid or invalid, true, false or just opinion. "Be a man Nick, attach your name to your comments." How does that make my words any different? Does it change their meaning? Does it affect the readers differently if they indeed know the face behind the comments? It seems that there are a few people that spend a great deal of time hopping off topic to dwell over something that has no gravity about the topic matter. It would seem as though when they choose to avoid facing my comments they turn to the old "you're stupid" 3rd grade play yard tactic to distract from dealing with the issues. If I get agitated, it is primarily due to that exact thing..... someone doing grammar checks and spell checking to discredit those which oppose them simply to side step any point that they have no answer to.

    -- Posted by Nick Mercy on Wed, Apr 4, 2012, at 7:34 PM
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