City Council considering 'blighted' tag
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.