City water use back on track

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

McCOOK, Nebraska --The city water system was able to replenish reserves over the weekend, thanks to slightly cooler weather and citizen participation in a three-day water restriction placed on daytime watering. Utility Director Jesse Dutcher said the reserves were never down to a critical level, but with the increasing number of rural fires, primarily attributed to lightning strikes during extreme hot and dry conditions, he wanted to ensure the city had more than adequate supply on hand to be able to support both rural and local firefighters.

Dutcher told the McCook City Council, Monday evening during their regularly scheduled meeting, that the mandatory watering restriction was reduced to a voluntary restriction earlier that day.

The city water is supplied via one 24-inch main, the pressure of which the water department monitors very closely, Dutcher said.

"We have a secondary pipe scheduled in capital improvements," said Dutcher, who added that until the secondary pipe was installed his department would be very conservative with the pressure level it placed on the existing line.

Dutcher also told councilors that potential electrical shortages due to weather conditions could make it difficult for the water system to replenish its water reserves, also adding to his proactive approach to the water restrictions.

The creation of a paving district that would have saddled bordering property owners with $91,837 in improvements to the alley between West 14th Street and West Fairacres, from West Q Street to West O Street, was unanimously voted down during the meeting. The alley improvements originally were accompanied by the creation of a second paving district for street improvements in the area, but both districts were voted down by councilors after property owners spoke out against them.

Both paving districts were proposed by property owners seeking a solution to ongoing drainage and rainwater damage issues in that area. Several of the property owners that were originally in support of the projects spoke out against them after determining the paving projects were too costly or would not adequately address the areas of concern.

Fire Chief Marc Har-pham said that due to a coordinated effort with area health departments the city had implemented a cooling station at the Heritage Senior Center for citizens that do not have adequate air conditioning at their residence. The Senior Center will be available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for anyone needing to cool off and by calling the police department at 345-3450.

Harpham urged citizens to check on their neighbors during extreme heat such as the area is experiencing and encouraged the use of the cooling station.

Councilors approved a Community Development Block Grant contract between the City of McCook and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. The contract was necessary to develop a $39,300 downtown revitalization plan, with the city responsible for $9,300 of the expense, which could lead to roughly $350,000 in infrastructure improvements to the blighted downtown McCook.

The contract notes that NDED has made a reservation of up to $350,000 in additional CDBG funds for possible future award to the city, based on their evaluation of the results of the revitalization plan and the city's subsequent plans. City staff will have until March 29, 2013, to submits that material to NDED.

Councilors entered into executive session to further discuss the purchase of potential real estate for the cation waste disposal system.

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