Letter to the Editor

'The whole story' ... a closer look

Friday, April 27, 2012

Dear Editor,

Commissioner McNutt recently submitted an opinion article for this forum titled "The Whole Story..." on the jail project.

As someone who has done a ridiculous amount of research on this project, I am disappointed and qualified to say the commissioner came up way short of meeting his goal. "The Whole Story..." on this issue simply cannot be told in the number of words he devoted to the article.

As I have written plenty already, I will keep these comments short and directed to a couple points the commissioner made in his article. If you haven't read my previous comments, you can read my whole essay at this Gazette web address. http://www.mccookgazette.com/story/1835747.html

I want to address specifically some of the cost information Commissioner McNutt referred to from the Prochaska and Associates feasibility study regarding Option 4 (Greenfield Site) and Option 5B (Hold and Transport). You can study these numbers for yourself on pages 43, 44, and 45 of the jail study online at this Red Willow County web address. http://www.co.red-willow.ne.us/content/jail_planning_committee_updates

Option 4 is the Greenfield site option costing $5.97 million and was judged too expensive. What Commissioner McNutt has failed to explain was that this design option included 1,000 more square feet of jail and 2,000 more square feet of sheriff's office space than the building Option 1A they selected to build at the courthouse. When you adjust the cost of the buildings for this difference in size, they come up essentially the same cost.

Now consider that the Greenfield site I have been suggesting might cost one tenth of what the Norris Avenue site will cost; we could look at savings of over $350,000 on the site alone. It appears to me now the Greenfield option is less expensive, even considering the additional prisoner transport costs calculated by the jail designer to be $5,905 per year, or cumulatively over 20 years with inflation to be $169,569 (all this on page 43 of the jail study).

Option 5B is the Hold and Transport facility option costing $3.82 Million. What is interesting here is the jail portion is 2,500 square feet, less than 25 percent of the building total which is 10,500 square feet. The rest of the building is 6,500 square feet of sheriff's office and 1,500 square feet of connecting links to the courthouse.

Put in financial terms, the jail portion in Option 5B is costing less than $1 Million, and the sheriff's office, connecting links, and courthouse renovations make up the rest of the $3.8 Million. Certainly this option doesn't look attractive as it is designed, but if you could build a holding facility for around $1 Million, and forget the nearly $3 Million of sheriff's offices, connecting links, and courthouse renovations unrelated to keeping a prisoner, the Hold and Transport option gets considerably more interesting and financially competitive.

In conclusion, I point out this information to again suggest the sheriff and commissioners have not been as diligent and conservative with our tax dollars as they claim. There are many other money saving possibilities and options deserving consideration that have not been fairly judged.

This project needs to stop now, as Commissioner McNutt has assured me could happen given an incentive to do so. If Commissioner McNutt is truly interested in bringing a community together as he suggested in the last sentence in his article, his approach dealing with the public the last twelve months needs a major overhaul. The commissioners are on a stubborn path to see this through; if you disagree with them like I do, you need to let them know with your personal contact or at the community meetings scheduled. The next one is at 7 p.m., Monday, April 30 at the Fairgrounds Community Building.

Dale Dueland

McCook, Nebraska

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  • Dale,

    I am really disappointed in you. You have been misleading the public from day one since you learned that the jail would be build on Norris. The cost means nothing to you as you claim and your only goal in all of this is to make sure that this facility isn't located within the city limits of McCook and specifically the Norris location. You will twist and do anything to prevent this project from happening and most people are beginning to see that. You have taken your propaganda tour to businesses and lied to them about county renting bed space to the state to help pay for this larger greenfield site. Why are you no longer talking about that? The jail study committees look at those ideas prior and determined the same thing that was repeated by the Director of NE Corrections, that is the State of Nebraska will not rent jail space from Red Willow County, but you kept telling people that they would.

    If the augment you present is proved to be a lie, then you create another one to hit the commissioners with.

    Where are you to criticize the city spending on a facility that they probably could have done cheaper? They could have just built the firehouse only since that was the immediate need but they decided to take advantage of low interest rates and combine facilities to make it more efficient just like the county is trying to do with their project. The city had their naysayers but they moved on anyhow. I was opposed to it and the manner in which they financed it but they felt differently. They were elected to make the decisions. They didn't have to put the new municipal center up for a vote in 2010 but they chose to do that. The county doesn't have to ask permission to build this building and they are choosing a different path because they are out of time to fulfilled their legal duty to take care of prisoners within the county.

    One question that you should probably ask the city, if they are no longer going to be in the jail business as the county will fully take on that obligation, will they reduce their overall budget $500,000 per year from this point forward? That is the number they have published to run their jail and the reason they didn't include it in their new building. I highly doubt the city will reduce their overall spending by that amount, spend that money somewhere else and you will not say one word about it. Go figure?

    I suggest you run for county commissioner and get some things changed. However, I don't think you are as popular as you may think in Red Willow County.

    Unfortunately for you, all of your arguments will not lead to the end of this project being built on Norris like you are dreaming of. Your request to get the city council involved has not materialized and I don't think they want all of that publicity now because it will shine even more light on things they could have done better to work together with the county.

    At the end of your last series you asked for people to join your cause. If you made such a compelling case during your last diatribe, why do you need to hit the commissioners again with this piece and beg people to join you? You have not introduced any new information since your last series. The only think you have accomplished with this piece is to show just how desperate you are and resubmitted an attack on the elected commissioners of Red Willow County. Now that is what I call ridiculous.

    Get with Gene Morris and help him pay for his lawyer for the so-called legal action he has proposed.

    See you Monday Night.

    -- Posted by Todd Cappel on Fri, Apr 27, 2012, at 6:26 PM
  • In reference to Mr. Dueland's last paragraph, even if you do not disagree with the commissioners like he does you should contact them or come to a meeting.

    -- Posted by bntheredunthat on Fri, Apr 27, 2012, at 7:39 PM
  • *

    From an "outsiders" perspective it is mind boggling that Red Willow Co is building a jail to save money yet our property taxes are going to skyrocket to fund the project.

    I have land in KS and NE and a parcel of farm ground in Red Willow County already is taxed at $1005.29 per year and a similar parcel 4 miles away across the border in KS, with less tillable ground, is taxed at $427.86. The total acres are identical. How can Red Willow County continue to drive up the property taxes that are already ridiculously high?

    The County powers to be have lost their mind.

    -- Posted by ksfarmer on Fri, Apr 27, 2012, at 11:36 PM
  • Question for Todd: you say in the above comment that you were opposed to the building of the City Facility..... Yet in an earlier post, you mentioned that you voted for the new Municipal Facility, how can the audience of the Gazette believe your words? Which by the way are not flattering to your character via the arrangement of your name calling.

    My point is this, you throw out information that conflicts with itself, and you expect people to grasp hold of your theories and yet you contradict yourself and generally direct your comments down the path of name calling..... Its not becoming. If you want to be taken seriously, hedge out of the emotional responses and lay down some well worded fact, or at least well worded opinions.... What you have going on is simply juvenile in nature.

    I'm not attacking you so much as attempting to make you self aware. I know you to be intelligent, but its not coming across that way when you lead with emotion.

    KS Farmer, did I misunderstand you or we're you saying that your NE farmland was actually taxed higher than your KS pasture land? I may have not been clear on the "less tillable" aspect of your KS land, but if the land isn't able to produce cash crops of some sort, then the value of that land would thereby be lower, and by extension, so too would be the taxes. I'm not sure if I understand that correctly. By the way, didn't Kansas have to recently put a freeze on State payroll? Maybe they NEED to tax up slightly. I don't think they are overrun by state employees, I might be wrong.

    -- Posted by Nick Mercy on Sat, Apr 28, 2012, at 9:02 AM
  • Nick,

    I did not vote for the new city municipal facility. You are factually incorrect. I was opposed as tax payer within the city limits at the time, yet the city proceeded anyhow. I am really not into consensus building like you Mr. Mercy. I have an opinion that I will identify myself with and if there are those that disagree, then so be it. You cannot please everyone.

    All I am saying is that Mr. Dueland will need to confront the city about their spending after they close the holding cells to be consistent with his augments in government spending like he has attacked the county for not doing a very good job with this jail project.

    I didn't call Mr. Dueland any names in this post. I just asked some questions of why he felt he needed to publish another op ed piece that basically repeated the same info form his first lengthy series. These are opinions and if you wish to label them name calling you are free to do so.

    At least I have the courage to attach my name to what I say. If anything is unbecoming it is the fact that you hide in the shadows and act like some self righteous being that we all need to be afraid of.

    I do call you a name, Mr. Mercy and that is, coward. I will stand behind that. If you want to be taken seriously I suggest you have the courage to identify yourself. I am not afraid to post opinions against someone that will not readily identify who they are.

    Is that enough name calling for you?

    You may want to read Mr. Dueland's comments from the public forum in Indianola to understand how he is very inconstant in his arguments against the construction of the new county building. He now has publicly stated that most all of his land holdings are in Frontier county and he wants Red Willow County to continue to rent beds to help keep his property taxes lower for his farm ground. Most folks in Red Willow County will see this on the merits and that is he wants Red Willow County to subsidize his property taxes in Frontier County by continuing to rent beds from them versus building their own jail and keeping that money here. Mr. Dueland has now exposed himself and his motivation for having Red Willow continue to rent beds "till Kingdom Come". If anyone is inconstant is is he. He has stated publicly that Red Willow County needs a jail and now he is advocating that they continue to transport prisoners to a county that will benefit him financially.

    Please identify how I am not being consistent in my opinions?

    Mr. Dueland lied to the public about the whole state will rent beds idea and knew it wasn't an option. His entire argument from the beginning was with false numbers to create doubt in the public and when that didn't work he moved on to the next idea to get this thing stopped. Keep in mind his first argument was the heritage square idea and when he couldn't rally support for that he move to the next and the next.

    I will constantly stay to the core that the city and county couldn't work together and that is at the root of a lot of local government problems here in Red Willow County. I really don't need advice from one that will does not have to courage to identify who they are. I am not the one that has to hide who I am. We all can't be cool and non-emontional like the esteemed Mr. Mercy. If anyone needs to keep their emotions in check it is Mr. Dueland and Mr. Mercy.

    Hoping to see you at the meeting Monday night as well, Mr. Mercy.

    -- Posted by Todd Cappel on Sat, Apr 28, 2012, at 10:40 AM
  • Where the heck has Speak-e-z been by the way? We haven't heard from he/she in a long time.

    -- Posted by Todd Cappel on Sat, Apr 28, 2012, at 11:14 AM
  • *

    RE the question about taxes in Red Willow County compared to Decatur County:

    The bottom line is that taxes on farm ground and pasture in Red Willow County are approximately 2-1/2 times the tax on the equivalent land in Decatur County. This isn't any big secret for those of us that farm along the state line. The land referenced in the above post in KS is better than the similar land in Red Willow Co yet the taxes on the land in RW County are 2-1/2 times the amount on the land in Decatur Co.

    The county roads in KS put the Red Willow County roads to shame. We wonder why they call them gravel roads in NE when there is little if any gravel on the road!!

    -- Posted by ksfarmer on Sat, Apr 28, 2012, at 12:19 PM
  • Todd, I don't believe I stand corrected in regard to you saying that you voted for the City Municipal Facility, I will be forced to go back and find that page which won't be easy as I can't specifically remember what article that was..... if I can't find it I will openly apologize for that misinformation. I would like to know, however; where I have made an emotional comment. Your statement, " If anyone needs to keep their emotions in check it is Mr. Dueland and Mr. Mercy." Where have I not been even keel on my comments, you may paraphrase if you wish.

    You really do use emotion in your point making process though, you've referred to me as a "joke" as well as given me the moniker "The Nick", which by the way, I do appreciate..... it seems to be catching on.

    KS Farmer, I was mistaken with how I interpreted your piece, I was seeing your post to say that the land in KS was not as valuable as its equal in NE.

    -- Posted by Nick Mercy on Sat, Apr 28, 2012, at 1:28 PM
  • By the way KS Farmer, I use back roads in both KS as well as NE on a most regular basis and I'm afraid I will have to pull out the BS card on the condition of county roads in KS. I have run into more "low maintenance" roads in KS than I have ever run into in NE. Those roads generally start out with an inviting width and surface then begin to narrow and about the time you have figured out the cow path you're on will shortly be some a unicycle path, you're into a 5 mile reversing lesson. Ever been between: Hwy(s) 24 & 383, between Hoxie and Dresden? There are abandoned vehicles on stretches of land down there..... I swear I've seen settlements established and occupied by folks that lost their way and couldn't find their way out.

    -- Posted by Nick Mercy on Sat, Apr 28, 2012, at 1:42 PM
  • You are free to call me a liar but I did not vote in 2010 for the city municipal center. It is my word identified as Todd Cappel versus the anonymous, Nick.

    Nick you must be an independent or moderate voter to not have any feelings on issues. I do not apologize to ghosts like you for my emotions.

    By the way "the nick" was a typo.

    Please do your best to find the article that states the I voted for the city municipal center.

    -- Posted by Todd Cappel on Sat, Apr 28, 2012, at 1:43 PM
  • By the way who cares if I have emotions? There are more that support my positions on these matters than you realize, Mr. Mercy. What a life you lead to hide who you truly are and your opinions in the public domain

    Internet search tip for you, Nick, just type my full name in the search box on this site and you will find all of the articles that mention my name in the Gazette. I did vote for the joint county/city facility in 2006 because I felt it would have saved the tax payers millions. Maybe that is what you were thinking about.

    Search away and have fun.

    We will see how Mr. Dueland likes to be grilled about his motives in this forum and others. For what he has done to smear the commissioners it is getting close to slanderous. For what you call name calling if one can't take some criticism, then they shouldn't put themselves out there publicly, especially with information that can so easily proved to be false and intentionally misleading.

    -- Posted by Todd Cappel on Sat, Apr 28, 2012, at 3:21 PM
  • Oh... Thanks Todd.... Appreciate the help.

    -- Posted by Nick Mercy on Sat, Apr 28, 2012, at 7:26 PM
  • My open apology to you Todd! That is what the comment said. I will be more cautious with my quotes. The joint facility was the pro vote! Not the municipal facility, for the record. I stand corrected.

    -- Posted by Nick Mercy on Sun, Apr 29, 2012, at 3:28 PM
  • I'm here Todd, I'm glad you miss me. I haven't been posting because my favorite paraprosdokian is "Never argue with a fool, he'll drag you down to his level and beat you at his game." You write and write and can't get over the pseudonym thing.

    Seems to me Mr. Dueland presents a fairly logical argument. That's all I have to say. I've already made my position clear in other posts.

    -- Posted by speak-e-z on Tue, May 1, 2012, at 2:59 PM
  • Speak-e-z,

    It was nice to see you the other night. Nice jab. If people truly knew who you were, you might get the label "The Fool". At least I have the courage to criticize you in person or with my name attached to it.

    You have been busy with other things I am sure. Introduce yourself the next time we see each other. You had said in a previous post you would do that. Has that changed lately?


    -- Posted by Todd Cappel on Wed, May 2, 2012, at 7:25 AM
  • I didn't want to say anything earlier as I openly recently apologized for a mis-quote and I don't like to do that, so I did some research, asking the people in the know....

    "Where did the $500,000.00 operating number come from?" The person I asked informed me that the cost liability was never stated so far as she /he knew. So Todd, where did that number come from that you toss out there for consideration? I'm still in humble mode, so you should know that I ask sincerely.... I'm just wanting to know.

    Respectfully.... The Nick.

    -- Posted by Nick Mercy on Wed, May 2, 2012, at 6:52 PM
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