Deputy county assessor to be appointed to top post Monday

Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Kristi Korrell
Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Gazette

McCOOK, Neb. — By their weekly meeting Monday morning, Red Willow County commissioners had received one application for the position of county assessor, a vacancy created by the resignation in November by 411⁄2-year county employee Sandra Kotschwar.

Kotschwar will leave her job as assessor on Friday, and at their meeting Monday morning, commissioners will appoint her deputy, Kristi Korell, to fill the position of county assessor through 2018. Korell’s was the only application for the opening, commission chairman Earl McNutt thinks most likely because of the state certification required to fill an assessor’s position. Korell is certified by the state, McNutt said.

McNutt said that Korell is well qualified for the assessor’s position, having worked in the assessor’s office since 1978 (39 years) and as deputy assessor since 1995 (22 years). Commissioner Jacque Riener said the county is lucky to have someone as qualified as Korell to assume the position.

Commissioner Steve Downer was pleased with Korell’s application for the opening, saying that he thinks Korell wants to continue her position within the assessor’s office as the county’s zoning administrator.

McNutt said it will be Korell’s duty to appoint a deputy and to run her office as she sees fit, adding that he sees no problem with the dual role as assessor and zoning administrator. Riener said it’s nice and very professional to have the zoning administrator’s office within the courthouse, rather than contract it privately offsite as it was before Korell took over the position in January 2017.

Korell will have to meet an incumbents’ filing deadline in February if she should decide to run for the assessor’s office in 2018.


Faced with what one commissioner called “an almost dead-even heat,” commissioners considered a parts credit and trade-in value when they bought a new Caterpillar road grader for the county’s District 3/McCook shop.

NMC of North Platte offered a 2017 Caterpillar 12M3 grader valued at $243,000 and offered $46,500 for the county’s 2003 John Deere 77CH road grader as a trade-in and a $10,000 credit for parts purchased throughout the county roads department. The total bill will be $196,500, however, the parts credit reduces that county’s total cost to $186,500.

The Cat has a 5-year, 5,000-mile warranty and is available immediately because it’s the actual machine that the county test-drove last week.

The second grader bid was just $1,500 higher — $188,000 from Murphy Tractor, also of North Platte. Murphy offered a new 2018 John Deere 670GP grader valued at $233,000. The bid drops to $188,000 with the $45,000 trade-in of the 2003 John Deere. The Deere would come with a 5-year, 5,000-mile warranty and be available in 60-120 days.

“This is almost a dead-even heat,” McNutt said. “Do we want it today or can we wait?” There isn’t an urgency, McNutt said.

McNutt pointed out that the 2001 Caterpillar used as a trade-in last year had a trade-in value of $65,500-$66,700. This year’s 2003 John Deere trade-in is valued at $45,000-$46,500.

McNutt said that the roads department employee who will operate the new grader currently runs a John Deere, but he told McNutt that he has no preference (Deere or Cat), he just wants the best deal for the county.

McNutt said that “either would do the job.”

McNutt said the bidding situation was close too when the county bought a new grader in November 2016. “We just went with the lowest bid,” he said.

(The new grader last year was a 2016 Caterpillar model 12M3 whose outright purchase price was $231,500. With the trade-in of the county’s 2001 Caterpillar 140H grader, valued by Cat at $66,700, the county paid $164,800 for the new grader.

The deal included a $5,000 parts credit, for a final value of $159,800. The other bid was from Murphy Tractor of North Platte, for a 2017 John Deere model 670GP, valued at $238,000. Murphy offered $65,500 for the county’s trade-in grader, for a purchase price difference of $172,500.

With a $10,000 parts credit, the final value was $162,500. That’s a difference between the two bids of just $2,700.)

Riener’s motion to purchase the Caterpillar was seconded by Downer; the vote was unanimous. McNutt thanked Kyle Larson of Kearney, the NMC/Cat district representative, and John Webster, Murphy Tractor’s representative, for their time and effort. Unfortunately, McNutt said, someone always has to lose out. Downer said it’s nice to have that competition.


Commissioners voted unanimously to contribute $1,000 in 2018 to the McCook Economic Development Corp., the same amount contributed by the county in 2017.

McNutt admitted the contribution seems small, but, he pointed out the MEDC gets a portion of the City of McCook sales tax, and county residents who live outside of McCook shop and pay city taxes as well. The MEDC benefits from the whole county, he said.

Riener, who has been invited by MEDC director Andrew Ambriz to attend MEDC meetings, said that Ambriz seems to appreciate the ag sector’s benefit to McCook. Downer said that as the county’s representative to the MEDC, Riener will have an input, although not a vote, on the MEDC board of directors.


In other action, commissioners appointed James Coady of rural McCook to the county’s planning commission to replace Mary Kircher, who has moved from McCook. Coady’s term will expire April 30, 2018.

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