Council asked to approve airline recommendation

Friday, January 14, 2022

McCOOK, Neb. — The McCook City Council will be asked Monday night to approve the recommendation of a new passenger airline carrier at the airport, at its regular meeting 5:30 p.m. at city council chambers at the Municipal Building.

The council will also be asked to increase the per-person costs for recognition dinners and hear from property owners whose claims were denied from the city’s insurance.

The meeting will open with a presentation via Zoom from AMGL CPAs and Advisors on the audit report of the city’s financial statements.

From the regular agenda, the council will be asked to recommend to the Department of Transportation the proposal from Denver Air for 12, non-stop round trips per week from McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport to Denver International Airport for a two-year contract, as recommended by the Airport Advisory Commission. The subsidy Denver Air is asking is $2.01 million for year one and $2.96 million in year two and proposes to spend at least $20,000 annually in advertising and marketing, using local radio, print, billboard, television and internet advertising.

Denver Air will use a nine-passenger commuter plane, manned by two pilots. Other airlines that submitted proposals were Boutique Air, the current provider, Air Charter Express, Air Choice One and Southern Airways. Southern Airways was the Airport Commission’s second recommendation.

The council will also be asked to increase the maximum amount the city can spend per person at city recognition dinners to $50 from $25, due to the difficulty of finding vendors that can provide a meal at $25, according to the city’s manager report. The current city ordinance has $25 as the maximum amount spent per person at recognition dinners; under the State of Nebraska Local Government Miscellaneous Expenditure Act, the allowable maximum cost per person is $50.

In approving this change, the council will also be asked to remove this expenditure under Travel Expenses in McCook city ordinances and include it instead in the ordinance, Purchasing Regulations, Travel expenses and Miscellaneous expenses. The purpose behind re-categorizing it is that it will be located within the purchasing rules instead of the general provisions section and city staff believes this will make it easier for individuals to locate.

And the council will hear from McCook citizens Rosanne Olson and Cheryl Bridgmon, who requested a discussion item with the council concerning the denied property damage claims from the city’s insurance carrier. The claims are related to a water main leak on the 1500 block of Norris on July 20-21, 2021. On Sept. 7, the city forwarded their claims to the city’s insurance carrier EMC. The claims were denied and cited that the city was not negligent. At the request of the property owners, EMC re-opened the claim to review the issue and denied the claims a second time in 2021. City staff has discussed the matter with the property owners. The city manager’s report said Nebraska’s Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act is the only remedy under state law following the final disposition of a negligence claim. The city does not pay for negligence claims following a denial from the insurance carrier.

The council will also be asked to discuss establishing schedules for selecting insurance brokers for property/casualty insurance and health insurance. 

From the consent agenda, the council will be asked to receive and file or approve:

-- The amended fee agreement with the city attorney increasing his fees from $125 per hour to $150 per hour: McCook City Attorney Nathaniel J. Mustion, has requested that the contracted hourly fee as the city attorney be increased due to inflation. The current rate, as stated in the 2016 contract, is $125 per hour. City Manager Nate Schneider reviewed city attorney contracts in similarly-sized communities and agreed the increase is warranted.

The amended agreement has a per hour rate for Mustion at $150 per hour, for at two-year term. The city attorney is appointed by the city manager.

-- Ratify an agreement between the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and the City of McCook to accept payments from the “Low Income Household Water Assistance Program.” The program provides a one-time payment that will bring delinquent household accounts up-to-date, with funds electronically deposited to the city. The program is paid for by federal funds through the NDHHS. Those seeking assistance from NDHHS are informed of the program.

-- Approve the specifications for the 2022 Crack Sealing Project and set that time and date of a bid at 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 8, 2022.

-- Approve the specifications for the 2022 Armor Coating Project and set the time and date to receive bids at 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 8, 2022.

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