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Monday, July 28, 2014
McCook City Council

News related to the City of McCook

Heineman: Turnover presents opportunity (07/25/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The Nebraska legislature is preparing for an unprecedented turnover of leadership in the coming year due to term limits, a situation which may present an opportunity for advocates of expanding the McCook Work Ethic Camp. Gov. Dave Heineman encouraged local business and community leaders to make certain incoming representatives on the Judiciary Committee were well informed when it came to the situation at the WEC. ...
Sales tax committee begins renewal activities (07/25/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The Sales Tax Ballot Language Committee met for the first time Thursday evening to begin the process of renewing the city's local option sales tax. City Manager Nate Schneider presented committee members with several areas to focus on, including whether or not to sunset the sales tax, and if so, for how many years. ...
Council cuts red tape for small sheds, garages (07/24/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Citizens looking to construct a garage or storage shed on their property should find the process easier after the McCook City Council loosened up accessory building zoning restrictions earlier this week. The change was appreciated by at least a few citizens in attendance, including one that claimed it would significantly reduce the workload for his wife...
College taking steps to expand dorms, cafeteria (07/24/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The McCook Board of Zoning Adjustment will meet Monday evening to consider a request for a setback requirement from McCook Community College related to a Brooks Residence Hall expansion project. The college is requesting the setback be reduced from 20 ft. to 12 ft. along East First Street for the project...
Housing development gets go-ahead (07/22/14)
BRUCE BAKER City Editor McCOOK, Neb. -- A housing development north of the Red Willow County Fairgrounds received approval on several key items Monday evening and can now begin construction activity. City Manager Nate Schneider said changes to the subdivision plat unanimously approved by the McCook City Council last night would make the project more manageable and grant the developer, North Pointe Properties, authority to start selling lots or building on the property...
Swimming pool tops priorities on survey (07/18/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A recent survey indicates the majority of McCook residents prioritize improvements to the city swimming pool as a recreational item they would like to see happen. Of the 152 surveys returned to city staff last month, 107 listed pool improvements in their top three priority recreational items to be built or improved upon...
Utility departments welcome break from improvement projects (07/16/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Following several years of upgrade and new construction projects, which included installation of a new secondary water main and construction of cation waste lagoons at the waste water treatment plant, the McCook water and sewer departments are looking forward to taking at least a year off from big projects...
Police hope to reunite items, owners (07/16/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The McCook Police Department is looking to reunite a substantial amount of stolen property with victims, who may very well be unaware a theft has even occurred. Multiple felony charges are pending against two individuals, one apprehended early Friday morning the other yesterday, which led to the recovery of a large number of stolen tools and other items...
Storm damage adding up (07/11/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A hailstorm that caught the majority of McCook by surprise early Thursday morning left a slew of damaged vehicles in its wake, including several belonging to the city. The fire and police departments were able to minimize the number of their vehicles damaged, thanks to the expanded indoor bay space provided by the new city building...
MEDC helps development project advance (07/08/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The McCook Economic Development Corp. is playing a vital role in the progress of a much-anticipated housing development north of the Red Willow County Fairgrounds. MEDC is purchasing a $208,000 bond which will be issued to the developer, North Pointe Properties LLC, to assist with the expense of the first phase of the project...
Neighbors ask to join dog kennel lawsuit (06/23/14)
BRUCE BAKER City Editor McCOOK, Nebraska -- Residents neighboring a local dog kennel the City of McCook recently renewed a legal battle with are attempting to join in on the civil suit. A North Platte attorney representing property owners in the vicinity of the kennel, which is located at 71363 Road 385 and operated by Daniel and Lizann Miller of McCook, filed a petition for intervention in Red Willow County District Court on May 21, 2014. ...
Sales tax committee members sought (06/17/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council is looking for citizens to help develop ballot language for the renewal of the city's sales tax. Both the 1 percent local-option sales tax and additional half-cent sales tax end in 2018 and the City Council wants to get an early start to present a renewal to voters this fall...
City plans to offer sewer bond (05/30/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council will focus much of their discussion on the city's sewer system during Monday's regularly scheduled meeting, 7:30 p.m. at the Municipal Center. City staff is asking for authorization to issue a $300,000 Sewer Revenue Bond to fund the installation of a new sewer line in Kelley Park and to make improvements to a city sewer lift station located east of the intersection between U.S. Highways 6-34 and Wedgewood Drive...
Sales tax renewal priority for city (05/22/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Incoming city manager Nate Schneider likely has a lengthy list of priority items to tackle in his new role, however, one item that is probably a safe bet to appear near the top of that list would be renewing the city local option sales tax. ...
TIF funding approved for new sports bar (05/21/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Construction of a new local sports bar, touting live music and an outdoor patio area off of U.S. Highway 83, took a step forward Monday evening when the McCook City Council approved the use of Tax Increment Financing for the project...
City seeks input on recreation survey (05/21/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The City of McCook is conducting a survey in an effort to gather citizen input on the future direction for recreational opportunities and facilities. The survey inquires as to the types of recreational activities citizens are actively involved in, as well as those they wish the city would consider for construction or improvement...
Speak up, city seeks recreational input (05/21/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The City of McCook is conducting a survey in an effort to gather citizen input on the future direction for recreational opportunities and facilities. The survey inquires as to the types of recreational activities citizens are actively involved in, as well as those they wish the city would consider for construction or improvement...
City attorney ready to switch roles (05/16/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council appear to be investing heavy in the attorney experience of new city manager Nate Schneider. Schneider's employment agreement will be considered for approval Monday evening and indicates his starting wage will be higher than that of the previous city manager, an applicant that came with 30 years experience in the field. ...
City gets new revenue from lease of water tower (05/08/14)
BRUCE BAKER City Editor McCOOK, Nebraska -- A new lease agreement between the city and Pinpoint Wireless is anticipated to bring an additional $12,000 in annual revenue. The McCook City Council approved the agreement Monday evening, during their regularly scheduled meeting, authorizing Pinpoint to install antennas and coax on the east water tower as well as a small control box at the base of the tank...
Council wraps up city manager interviews (05/06/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- City Council interviewed their final three applicants for the city manager position and may announce their selection before the end of the week. Following an executive session, Monday evening, councilors directed city staff to begin contract negotiations with an unannounced candidate. City staff subsequently scheduled a public meeting at noon on Thursday in council chambers, intended to announce their decision if contract negotiations are successful...
City Council to interview three finalists (05/02/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council has narrowed their search for a new city manager down to the final three, including one local man. City Attorney Nate Schneider will join Douglas Schultz of Curtis, Nebraska, and Malcolm Tilberg of Pierre, South Dakota, for public interviews coordinated by City Council Monday evening...
City option tax meeting May 15 (05/01/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The City of McCook is coordinating two public meetings in coming weeks to discuss renewal of the local options sales tax. The first meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 6 at 7 p.m., in the upstairs training room of the new McCook Municipal Center. A second meeting is scheduled at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 15...
City takes second stab at state grant (04/22/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Upgrades to a city owned parking lot on East First Street could provide covered parking for downtown shoppers, as well as a landscaped walkway to Norris Avenue, if they receive approval from state officials this time around. The improvements are part of a revised $350,000 downtown revitalization grant application unanimously approved by the McCook City Council Monday evening. ...
Council eyes lot sales (04/18/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council will consider giving final approval to sell four city lots to citizens relocating mobile homes out of the West Q Village. Two of the lots received first reading approval from council earlier this month and a request from a second mobile home owner was received afterwards...
Dog bite victim seeks changes (04/09/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- A local man injured in a dog attack last year is looking to the McCook City Council to help citizens avoid similar incidents in the future. Tony Spilinek appeared before City Council Monday evening and recounted a chaotic ordeal stemming from what he described as two pit bull terriers attacking a woman on East Sixth Street...
Council turns down request for larger campaign signs (04/08/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council rejected a request to increase the allowable size of political signage within city limits and indicated they would like to review the topic in December. "It's not fair at this point in the election process to change the rules," said Councilman Mike Gonzales during last night's regularly scheduled meeting...
Sirens effective only outdoors (04/07/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Citizens need to be proactive in their emergency preparedness and should not rely too heavily on the city's outdoor warning sirens, which are designed only to alert those outdoors of potential danger. Fire Chief Marc Harpham issued a reminder to citizens earlier this week explaining the intent of the sirens and advising they may not be an effective warning device for individuals inside their home or even vehicles...
City park plans may be dropped (04/04/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council will consider a local couple's request to purchase two city-owned lots for a total of $5,000, Monday evening. The couple, Robert and Sharon Harvey, own a manufactured home in the West Q Village, which they must vacate by May 1, 2014...
Tree rebate program begins (03/28/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The spring season for the City of McCook Tree Rebate Program begins Monday. The program offers residents partial reimbursement for up to three locally planted trees per spring and fall season. To qualify for the rebate planted trees must be of a select species and residents must follow planting specifics posted on the City of McCook website. ...
After further review ... Great Lakes still best option (03/26/14)
BRUCE BAKER City Editor McCOOK, Nebraska -- Despite failing to get a single commercial flight off the ground yet this month, Great Lakes Airlines remains the best option for local air service, according to McCook airport officials. The McCook City Council coordinated a joint meeting with the Airport Advisory Commission, city staff and citizens, Tuesday evening, after being provided an opportunity to reconsider the air service contract they had previously approved for Great Lakes Airlines...
City Council plans sales tax meetings (03/24/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The city's additional one and a half percent local sales tax is scheduled to expire in 2018 and the McCook City Council is wasting no time in beginning the renewal process, scheduling two town hall meetings for May. Councilors said a 23 month waiting period was required to follow any voter-rejected attempts and indicated during last weeks regular meeting they would like to have at least two opportunities to renew the revenue stream...
Report: Only California, New York tax burdens higher than Nebraska (03/24/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- A recent ranking of the best and worst states to be a taxpayer indicated Nebraskans pay 36 percent more in state and local taxes than the national average. Nebraska was ranked 49 of 51 states including the District of Columbia with residents paying an average of$9450 annually in state and local taxes. Only Californians at $9509, and New Yorkers at $9718, paid more...
City plans survey on recreation -- Council reviews pool study (03/20/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- City officials will be circulating a recreational survey soon to gather citizen input on a vision for new projects. The survey will cover ideas ranging from baseball field upgrades to skate park construction, and also ask about the level of interest in a significant investment in the city pool...
City audit good; tax and trash rates may rise (03/18/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The city's annual audit report once again provided a favorable evaluation and representatives from the auditing firm praised city department heads for their fiscal performance and holding expenses down. "You've done a very good job of holding down costs and expenses," said Terry Galloway of Almquist, Maltzahn, Galloway & Luth, Certified Public Accountants, during Monday's McCook City Council meeting...
Local air service suspended (03/14/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Commercial air service at McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport will be suspended effective April 1. Great Lakes Airlines made the announcement Wednesday and indicated it would be effective through April 27 and "due to the severe industry-wide pilot shortage and its relative acute impact on Great Lakes."...
ACE makes payment to McCook (03/04/14)
LINCOLN, Nebraska -- ACE, the Public Alliance for Community Energy is distributing $4,776.90 to the City of McCook as its share of $100,000 being distributed to the 72 Nebraska member communities of the not-for-profit, community-owned natural gas supplier...
No local city manager candidates, yet; council OKs wireless lease, new car for detective (03/04/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Fifteen people have turned in applications for city manager, none of them from McCook, interim city manager Kyle Potthoff said Monday night. While no deadline has been set, city officials will make the first review of applicants on Friday, March 21...
Communications company seeks water tower space (02/28/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council will consider approval of a lease agreement, Monday evening, which would provide an additional $14,400 in annual revenue in exchange for space on the city's west water tower. The lease agreement between the city and Tisdale Nebraska, LLC, allows for the placement of a new antenna and microwave dish equipment on the water tower, as well as a concrete pad and control equipment on the ground below...
City stays with Great Lakes; expects improvement (02/18/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council approved a recommendation to the Department of Transportation to continue with the airport's current air service provider, Great Lakes Airlines, but not without making it clear there were those that expected the quality of service to improve...
Roads hearing monday (02/14/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- A public hearing is set for 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17, to outline a six-year proposed program of new construction of roads and/or streets. Highway user taxes are collected by the state and allocated to the various street and road building subdivisions of the state by a prescribed formula...
City mulls legal action over dog kennels (02/14/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council will consider authorizing legal action Monday evening against property owners on Road 385 who are believed to be operating their dog kennel business with an excessive number of animals, among other alleged violations...
Theater group first tenant for city space (02/04/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Memorial Auditorium officially has its first tenant since being vacated by city staff a year ago. The McCook City Council approved a lease agreement with the Southwest Nebraska Community Theater Association Monday evening providing the city with $1,495 annually in exchange for the use of approximately 1300 square feet of storage space in the basement of the auditorium building...
Three council seats open (01/27/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Three McCook City Council seats will be filled this election year. Candidates wishing to file for a seat on the council have until March 3, 2014, to file with the office of City Clerk Lea Ann Doak. Incumbents, Dennis Berry, Mike Gonzales and Bruce McDowell, have until Feb. 18, 2014, to file. There is an $18 filing fee which must be paid to the City of McCook at filing...
Council hears more complaints about kennel (01/21/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Neighbors of a controversial dog kennel in south McCook complained to the McCook City Council Monday evening about the noise and smell created by the operation, saying it has been an ongoing issue for many years, and asking council to take action...
Potential tenant shows interest in city auditorium (01/20/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Memorial Auditorium may receive its first tenant since being made available for commercial and public use in May 2013. The McCook City Council will consider approval of a lease with the Southwest Nebraska Theater Association during their regularly scheduled meeting Monday evening...
TIF terminology may change (01/17/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The terms "blighted and substandard" may be removed from language related to the use of Tax Increment Financing in Nebraska. According to Nebraska Sen. Mark Christensen a constitutional amendment introduced by Sen. Greg Adams intends to strike the controversial phrases and replace them with wording stating TIF funds could be used for a "designated area in need of rehabilitation or redevelopment."...
Restroom bid exceeds estimate (01/03/14)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The City of McCook received only one bid from contractors interested in constructing new restrooms at Kelley and Karrer Park and that bid exceeded the budgeted amount of the projects by $40,000. City staff is requesting approval from the McCook City Council, Monday evening, to accept the Kelley Park portion of the bid and place the Karrer Park restrooms on hold until others funds can be budgeted...
Foreclosure filed on St. Catherine's (12/17/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- A foreclosure case targeting the defunct St. Catherine's Apartments building on West Fourth Street is working its way through Red Willow County District Court. City Attorney Nate Schneider said the property could be foreclosed on and sold via a Sheriff's auction within a couple of months...
Subdivision regulations on tap for City Council meeting (12/13/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- New subdivision regulations are being proposed to the McCook City Council which officials believe will continue to improve the city's appeal to developers. City Manager Jeff Hancock praised the new regulations and said they were part of a collective effort to make the City of McCook easier for businesses, companies, developers and individuals to do business...
Contamination seen as no risk to water system (12/03/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- City officials reported there was little risk to city drinking water from petroleum contamination near the McCook Taco John's restaurant, which the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality is attempting to evaluate. "As far as drinking water, our closest well is one and a half miles east of the site," Utility Director Jesse Dutcher informed the McCook City Council Monday evening...
Passenger count still climbs, despite cancellations (12/02/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- A national shortage of pilots, which Airport and City Manager Jeff Hancock blames for causing nearly a dozen local flight cancellations in September and even more in October, has not prevented the McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport from continuing to increase its number of boarded passengers...
Officials probe extent of contamination plume (11/29/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- A company contracted by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality is again requesting the use of city right-of-way to install petroleum contamination monitoring wells in the vicinity of the McCook Taco John's. The additional wells will bring the total number installed in the area to more than 30...
State wants new plan for downtown funding (11/25/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- State officials have asked the City of McCook to rethink their choice of parking lot improvements and signage, as a use for approximately $160,000 in approved downtown improvement grant funds. The funds are part of a $350,000 CDBG Phase II Downtown Grant the city applied for earlier this year, which also included renovations to crosswalks at the Norris Avenue and B Street intersection...
Dog attacks four, shot by police (11/20/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Several people were bit by a local dog before it directed its aggression at a responding police officer and was ultimately shot during an incident on East Sixth Street last Wednesday. The McCook Police Department was contacted by several residents just after three in the afternoon, reporting two vicious dogs attacking a woman and a small dog near the intersection of East Sixth and H Street. ...
Council OKs wage hike for manager (11/19/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council approved a 4.5 percent annual wage increase for City Manager Jeff Hancock Monday evening. According to city staff, the increase includes a 2 percent wage increase and 2.5 percent merit increase. The increase was approved, along with a new employment agreement, following an executive session coordinated for the annual evaluation of Hancock's job performance. ...
Planners seek public input on parks (11/18/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Some local recreational projects have been put on hold while city staff iron out the details of a citizen input survey they hope will provide feedback on what areas the city should focus. The survey follows a string of local groups making formal requests to the parks advisory board and city council, before being bounced back to the parks advisory board and ultimately delayed for one reason or another...
City manager performance review slated (11/15/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council is scheduled to enter executive session Monday evening for the annual evaluation of the job performance of City Manager J. Jeff Hancock. Following the executive session, council will consider approval of a new employment agreement with Hancock, as well as suspending the three reading rule when they set his new salary and compensation...
City studies new hangar construction (11/05/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The City of McCook is researching the construction of a new eight-plex hangar at the airport. According to city staff, the city already has 10 aircraft owners on a waiting list for hangar space at McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport and they believe the project may qualify for funding or financing assistance...
Airport passengers continue to climb, best since at least 2007 (11/04/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Boarded passenger numbers at McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport have seen a double digit increase every month this year since February. July, August and September combined for 500 boarded passengers, which is a 19 percent increase from the 418 passengers that boarded during the same time period in 2012...
Hit the trail -- Great Western Cattle Trail tour like something right out of the movies (11/04/13)
OGALLALA, Nebrasak -- Cowboys, cows and horses, rain, six shooters, Indians, dust, disease, rattlesnakes and floods--it's the ingredients for a good western movie or a little boy's imagination. It all can be found in the stories of the movement of cattle from Texas north up the Great Western Cattle Trail starting in 1874 and lasting about 20 years...
Tire cleanup next week (11/01/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The City of McCook is hosting a week long regional tire cleanup at the McCook Transfer Station beginning Monday. Tires from several Southwest Nebraska counties will be accepted, including Red Willow, Dundy, Hitchcock, Furnas, Chase, Hayes and Frontier counties...
Group seeks property for Norris tribute (11/01/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- George W. Norris enthusiasts have their sights set on city property bordering U.S. Highway 6 and 34, located between Walmart and Plains Equipment, for the construction of a tribute to the former U.S. Senator and the Rural Electrification Administration. The McCook City Council will consider approval of a preliminary request Monday evening, from the George W. Norris Foundation and George Norris Institute, authorizing use of the former city landfill for the project...
Police cracking down on rolling stops onto Highway 83 (10/28/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Complaints of drivers failing to stop before turning right at the U.S. Highway 83 intersections with B Street and J Street has prompted the McCook Police Department to conduct extra patrol activity in an effort to increase awareness and potentially reduce accidents...
Campers must be off streets, driveways by Nov. 1 (10/28/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Camper trailers and mobile coaches must be moved off city streets and out of front driveways by Nov. 1, according to the McCook Police Department. Citing city ordinance, the police department issued a reminder to residents in an effort to avoid complaints and reduce parking citations...
City industrial park may get first tenant (10/22/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- More than a decade after the City of McCook entered into a joint development agreement with the McCook Economic Development Corporation to create an industrial park east of Valmont, they may finally have their first tenant. A Nebraska company has interest in establishing a metal receiving station in McCook, where scrap metal would be separated, sorted and processed in order to be shipped as melting material...
Agenda heavy with hearings (10/18/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council will coordinate a multitude of public hearings Monday evening with topics ranging from new business activity to city zoning ordinance updates. The series of hearings will begin with consideration for a $105,000 grant application with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, which will be used to pave Industrial Park Drive in advance of a North Platte company establishing a metal receiving station in the neighboring industrial park...
City adds more trash equipment (10/11/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The City of McCook is adding more equipment to haul its own trash to an Ogallala landfill following a stormy relationship with the last private contractor who performed the service. The City Council awarded the bid for two new trash hauling trailers to IMCO Trailers, Monday evening, bringing the city's investment in new trash hauling staff and equipment to $260,251 since September 2012...
Policy sets depreciation guidelines (10/10/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council approved new policy for the city Monday evening establishing depreciation practices for city assets. The new "Fixed Asset Capitalization Policy" was drafted by city staff and intended to improve inventory management of city items with a life in excess of one year and value more than $5,000...
Comprehensive plan OKd, sans change (10/08/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council prioritized supervision over streamlining business development, Monday evening, approving the proposed comprehensive plan without a requested amendment. Local property owners and economic development experts asked city council to ease the burden on prospective small businesses interested in property on Drive 716, west of Orscheln Farm and Home, by amending the future land use of a portion of the area from residential to light industrial...
City explores annexation as answer to land use issue (10/04/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Property west of Orscheln Farm and Home where several small businesses have recently relocated will be recommended by city staff to remain zoned for agriculture while a review of costs associated with annexation is completed. The future land use of the area bordering Drive 716 has been under scrutiny since property owners requested a proposed Comprehensive Plan be amended to change the area from residential to light industrial. ...
Cops step up pedestrian right-of-way, parking enforcement (10/01/13)
BRUCE BAKER City Editor McCOOK, Nebraska -- City police officers began additional enforcement efforts today targeting motorists who do not yield to pedestrians, as well as citizens with campers, trailers and boats parked for longer than 72 hours. The additional enforcement efforts stem from complaints received by the police department, according to Chief of Police Isaac Brown...
City wage structures more open? (09/20/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Changes to how City of McCook employee wage increases are classified and announced to the public may be on the horizon. Questions that have been raised in recent years during the annual city budgeting process surfaced again this year, primarily focused on how merit and longevity wage increases were determined and what amount they combined for...
McCook public transit system honored by feds (09/20/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook public transit system was honored recently by the Federal Transit Authority for having only one vehicle, yet being responsible for the largest increase in riders in the state of Nebraska. The McCook system received the "Award of Excellence" from the Federal Transit Administration Region VII at the Four State Mid West Transit Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, on Aug. 5, 2013...
City comprehensive plan delayed (09/17/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- A proposed city Comprehensive Plan hit a snag Monday evening and was delayed for consideration until October. Tabling of the item came after a local property owner and engineer requested the future land use for property south of Drive 716 be changed from residential to commercial/light industrial...
Levy steady, tax asking up $63,000 (09/13/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Although the City of McCook property tax levy for the upcoming fiscal year is proposed to remain at the same amount, the property tax actually collected by the city is projected to increase by more than $63,000 in the 2013-14 budget...
Last call for city budget (08/30/13)
Last call for city budget BRUCE BAKER City Editor McCOOK, Nebraska -- Final adjustments to the upcoming city budget will be considered Tuesday evening and more than $374,000 in uncommitted funds remain on the table. During the first two readings of the budget City Clerk Lea Ann Doak has argued that a decreasing trend in sales tax revenue justifies leaving much of the fund uncommitted, although others have argued that the city already has a significant cushion budgeted and completion of local projects is justified.. ...
Construction trends up during first half of year (08/29/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- McCook area construction activity increased during the first six months of the year, largely due to commercial projects. Year-to-date construction project costs through June totaled $9.9 million, an increase of more than $1.7 million from the same time period in 2012, according to building permit information compiled by city staff...
Trash rate increase approved (08/23/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council approved an ordinance Monday evening increasing residential and commercial trash collection fees by 50 cents, effective Oct. 1, 2013. Residential trash collection rates will increase from $18.50 to $19 per month. Commercial waste collection will increase from $57 to $57.50 per ton...
City Council commits $30,000 to skate park (08/21/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- A proposed City of McCook skate park took a critical step forward Monday evening when $30,000 was unanimously approved by the City Council to be budgeted for the project in the upcoming fiscal year. Councilors also authorized city staff to draft a formal letter to the McCook School Board requesting the donation of land at two proposed sites west of the high school and YMCA building...
Council rejects truck wash (08/20/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council turned down a special exception needed by a local business to expand its operation, after hearing arguments from neighboring businesses that the expansion could negatively impact their activities. The request came from Randy and Curtis Lashley, who operate a truck and farm equipment repair facility on Drive 716 west of Orscheln Farm & Home, and stemmed from their desire to build a truck washout at their location...
Alley lights cost about $9,000 a year to operate (08/20/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Eliminating alley lights would save the city $9,000 annually, according to city officials. During Monday's City Council meeting, City Manager Jeff Hancock said he wanted to clarify his previous comments pertaining to alley lights and said he was speaking about a hypothetical scenario of the city experiencing a budget crunch, "I want to set the record straight, it is not a given thing," said Hancock...
City: Skatepark would need camera system (08/09/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- A group coordinating support for a city-owned skatepark was informed by City Manager Jeff Hancock in May that the park would require the added expense of a security camera system. Hancock made the comment during a Parks Advisory Board meeting and said a skatepark would need cameras, according to meeting minutes which were only made public Thursday...
Skate park gets cordial hearing, but no funding (08/07/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Several McCook City Council members said they were proud of the effort shown by local youth in support of building a city skatepark, but ultimately were not comfortable with committing city funds to the project. The council approved the 2013-14 city budget on its first of three required readings without reserving funds for a skatepark, however, they did indicate there was still time to add the item prior to the two remaining readings...
No increase in water, sewer rates (08/06/13)
BRUCE BAKER City Editor McCOOK, Nebraska -- City of McCook water and sewer rates are likely to avoid a rate increase during the upcoming budget cycle after a review of their respective funds came back with positive marks. Jenny Blankenship with Public Financial Management presented results of the city's annual water and sewer fund cashflow analysis to the McCook City Council, Monday evening, and recommended no rate increase for either service during the upcoming 2013-14 budget. ...
City gets little advance notice on sales tax draws -- State economic development program like 'thief in the night' (07/31/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- A Nebraska economic development program has been dipping into McCook sales tax dollars with little advance notice, prompting one local official to refer to the program as being like a thief in the night. City Manager Jeff Hancock said notice had been received that the Nebraska Advantage Act had the ability to claim local sales tax dollars to benefit an industry and would be doing so to the tune of $31,000 in the upcoming year...
West N, C streets closed through Tuesday (07/26/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- A pair of McCook streets will be closed on occasion between today and Tuesday as part of construction work under way. The streets include West N Street from West 14th Street to North U.S. Highway 83 and West C Street from West Fourth Street to West Fifth Street...
Old sales tax-funded items in new budget (07/26/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Several projects that sales tax funds were set aside for during the 2012-13 budget process but were not completed are proposed to have funds committed again in the upcoming budget. Among those, $35,000 in improvements to the Karrer Park shower house from the one percent sales tax receipts will be budgeted for the second consecutive year and $80,000 will be committed for the second consecutive year for improvements to the Kelley Park restrooms...
Carryover abundant in city budget (07/25/13)
BRUCE BAKER City Editor McCOOK, Nebraska -- The proposed budget for the City of McCook's upcoming fiscal year reflects a decrease of $1.2 million from the previous years budget, however, it is also an increase of more than $8.3 million from where city expenditures are estimated to actually end at the close of the current fiscal year. ...
Roundhouse punch: MEDC sees potential manufacturing site in old railroad building (07/23/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Economic development officials believe a former railway roundhouse offers a unique opportunity to draw a spec manufacturing or distribution center to McCook, but finances are putting pressure on the McCook Economic Development Corp. to sell the property...
Housing rehabilitation grant application OK'd (07/16/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council approved application for a Nebraska Affordable Housing Program grant for $310,000 for owner-occupied rehabilitation of 10 homes. If the city receives the grant, which requires no local match, $250,000 will go for actual housing rehabilitation, and $55,000 will go toward administration, project management and paint testing, risk assessments and clearance testing...
City to stay in trash hauling business (07/16/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The city can buy diesel fuel cheaper than a private contractor, so it has an advantage when it comes to hauling its own trash out of town. McCook officials hope that translates into lower costs as they continue to do the job formerly performed by a private contractor...
Wet concrete mishap cost $58,500 (07/16/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- City Council members were informed that the insurance company representing a woman who drove her car through wet cement on East H Street had settled, sending the city's contractor a check for $58,500. The mishap forced the contractor to redo a portion of the project and delayed the project about two days...
Future of trash hauling on City Council agenda (07/12/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The future of city trash hauling will be discussed Monday evening as city staff present the McCook City Council with spreadsheets outlining cost scenarios of the city taking over hauling and comparing them to the historical expense of hauling via private contractors...
H Street project enters final phase (07/09/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The East H Street road improvement project will transition into its third and final phase either today or Wednesday, according to the contractor. The transition will reopen East H Street from East Sixth Street to the east side of the west entrance into Oakview Apartments...
Airport reports second best quarter in six years (07/08/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Boarded passenger numbers at McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport continued to increase for the second quarter of 2013. April, May and June combined for 582 boarded passengers, which is a 51 percent increase from the 384 passengers that boarded during the same time period in 2012...
Replat approved, with stipulations (07/02/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council approved a plan to replat property for a housing development, but only after attaching stipulations connected to concerns raised by neighbors. The stipulations attached to the North Pointe Properties housing development, north of R Street in McCook, require addressing concerns about storm water drainage, maintenance of trees bordering the northern property line and confirmation that the city would be given a piece of property to extend R Street east to intersect West Seventh Street.. ...
Development plan advances, City Council to consider Monday (06/28/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the preliminary replat and redevelopment plan for the North Pointe Properties housing development project north of R Street, during their regularly scheduled meeting Thursday evening. The project components will now be presented to the McCook City Council Monday evening and be accompanied by recommendations from both city staff and the planning commission for approval...
Planners to review development (06/26/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook Planning Commission will coordinate a public hearing Thursday to review the North Pointe Properties subdivision north of R Street. Commissioners are scheduled to review the developer's request for a preliminary replat of Clary Subdivision, as well as their redevelopment plan...
Euthanasia funding may be increased (06/24/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook Humane Society has been too full to take animals on a regular basis, prompting the police department to request additional funding to cover the expense of euthanizing animals they detain. During the June 11 City of McCook 2013-14 budget workshop, Chief of Police Isaac Brown said as recently as the week prior, and on a regular basis throughout the year, the McCook Humane Society has refused to take animals because they were too full...
Public hearing set for planned housing project (06/18/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- A public hearing has been scheduled by the McCook City Council to discuss the housing development proposed north of R Street. Councilors approved a resolution Monday evening scheduling the public hearing for July 1, 2013, 7:30 p.m., at the Municipal Center...
New wells sniffing out old fuel leaks (06/14/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- A Scottsbluff, Nebraska, company has requested the use of city right-of-way to install multiple groundwater monitoring wells on property surrounding the McCook Taco Johns. The project intends to determine how far a petroleum products contamination in the area has spread...
City takes over trash long haul (06/13/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The City of McCook hopes to save money in the long run by investing another $190,000 in trash hauling equipment and expenses, intending to proceed with taking over what has traditionally been a locally contracted service to haul trash to a landfill...
North Pointe project pulled for revisions (06/07/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- All items pertaining to the proposed North Pointe Properties LLC housing development north of R Street have been pulled by city staff from Monday's McCook Planning Commission meeting agenda. The Planning Commission was originally scheduled to coordinate a public hearing to review a request to consider a Clary Subdivision Replat, submitted by North Pointe Properties, which outlined their plans for the housing development project. ...
Trooper will take part in Coffee with a Cop (06/07/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- A Nebraska State Patrol trooper will join McCook Police Department officers for the June Coffee with a Cop, Tuesday morning, 10 a.m., at the McCook McDonald's restaurant. The casual format meeting offers a monthly opportunity for citizens to pose questions to law enforcement representatives, who can communicate solutions and offer guidance...
Planners told: Advisory role only (06/06/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The meeting agenda for Monday evening's meeting of the McCook Planning Commission includes an unusual reminder from City Manager Jeff Hancock, stating the commission serves only in an advisory role to the McCook City Council and has a limited timeframe to provide input on a housing development project north of R Street...
North Pointe project sent to planners (06/04/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council forwarded the proposed redevelopment plan for a housing development north of R Street on to the Planning Commission, Monday evening. The Planning Commission is scheduled to meet Monday, 5:15 p.m., at the Municipal Center and will be tasked with review of the redevelopment plan and making a recommendation back to council pertaining to its approval and conformity to the general plan for development of the city...
City plans water work (05/31/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The City of McCook is moving closer to implementing several water system improvements, including the replacement and retirement of old water mains and the construction of cation waste disposal ponds at the water treatment plant. Monday evening the McCook City Council will be asked to approve an ordinance authorizing the issuance of a $2,086,810 Water Revenue Bond to fund the four water improvement projects. ...
East H Street enters second phase (05/31/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The East H Street resurfacing project will transition to its second phase, Tuesday and Wednesday, which will result in the reopening of East H Street from Norris Avenue to East Sixth Street. According to a press release issued by city staff, during the second phase, East H Street will be closed from the east edge of East Sixth Street to the west edge of East 11th Street, and from the east edge of West 11th Street through the west entrance into Oakview Apartments...
Developers say residents have options (05/30/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Efforts of a local housing developer may result in a low-cost option for moving several mobile homes on the property. Local business owners and partners in North Pointe Properties, Bill Davis and Terry McCorkle, visited with the Gazette this morning and addressed concerns stemming from relocation notices distributed to several mobile home owners within the development property, as well as offered additional information about the project...
Trash contract canceled on 4-1 vote (05/21/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council canceled a trash hauling contract with Frtiz Trucking on a 4-1 vote Monday evening, ending several months of disputes. City staff members claimed the trash hauler had not been able to provide the required number of trailers and had ceased hauling operations completely on May 8...
City to cancel trash contract (05/17/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council will consider a request from city staff to cancel the trash hauling contract with Fritz Trucking and seek liquidated damages from the company. Conflict between the city and their contracted trash hauler has become commonplace since October of last year, when council denied a requested rate increase from Fritz Trucking and subsequently approved the purchase of two semi-trucks and rental of trash hauling trailers by the city...
Council looking for budget input (05/09/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council began their annual budgeting process Monday evening by approving a budget calendar and emphasizing the need for citizen input over the coming weeks. Councilors approved the 2013-14 fiscal year budget calendar which subsequently set the date of their open to the public budget retreat as June 11, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., at the Municipal Center training room...
Study: 300 new houses needed in next 10 years (05/08/13)
BRUCE BAKER City Editor McCOOK, Nebraska -- Nearly 300 housing units should be built in McCook over the next 10 years to meet demand, according to a study reviewed by the City Council Monday night. The housing shortage discussion included a recap from McCook Economic Development Director Rex Nelson of a detailed list of recommended action steps provided by the study...
Passenger numbers up (05/07/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- First quarter boarded passenger numbers at McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport totaled 411 in 2013. The figures, released by city staff recently, reflect an increase of more than 20 percent when compared to the same three month time period in 2012 and the best first quarter the airport has had, pertaining to boarded passengers, since at least 2007...
City Council to discuss housing (05/03/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council will consider declaring a pair of local properties as unsafe, receive updates pertaining to recent housing initiatives and begin early discussions to prioritize budget goals for the upcoming year, Monday evening, during the regularly scheduled meeting...
Trash talk -- City releases letters on solid waste, transfer station issues (04/26/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The City of McCook made public two letters from City Manager Jeff Hancock sent earlier this month to the owner of the city's contracted trash hauling company, Steve Fritz. The letters show that city staff expressed concern about a buildup of trash at the transfer station, an issue they also raised in September 2012 and cited then as the need for the emergency purchase by the city of two semi trucks and subsequent monthly rental expense of two trash hauling trailers...
Trash hauler's attorney cites Open Meetings Act, City Council backs off from closed session (04/25/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- An attorney for Fritz Trucking, the City of McCook's contracted trash hauler, warned the McCook City Council Wednesday evening that its intent to enter closed session to discuss potential litigation was in violation of the Nebraska Open Meetings Act. ...
Official: Drought not main cause of water conflict (04/16/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- According to a Middle Republican Natural Resources District board member, James Uerling, ongoing water issues that have pitted both irrigators and legislators against each other are not the result of a drought as many have suggested. Uerling presented the McCook City Council with charts illustrating precipitation levels at area reservoirs from 1955 through 2008, which showed a minimal but steady increase in the amount of precipitation received...
East H Street improvements begin Tuesday (04/15/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Travelers along East H Street will find themselves required to use alternate routes over the next several months as part of the street improvement project scheduled to begin Tuesday. The project will consist of three phases and is anticipated to be completed by late fall...
Council to set deadline for Memorial Auditorium proposals (04/12/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- A request for proposals pertaining to the future use of Memorial Auditorium will be considered by the McCook City Council, Monday evening, 7:30 p.m., during their regularly scheduled meeting at the Municipal Center. According to the meeting agenda, the city will accept proposals until 4 p.m., Friday May, 17, 2013, and five copies of any proposal or expressions of interest shall be submitted to City Manager Jeff Hancock...
Council offers best wishes to missing member (04/02/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council expressed support for absent councilor Janet Hepp and her husband Greg, during their regularly scheduled meeting, Monday evening. Greg Hepp suffered a stroke less than two weeks ago, just prior to his final performance in the lead role of the Southwest Nebraska Community Theatre presentation of "South Pacific."...
East H Street construction project expected to begin April 15 (03/29/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- An improvement project that will provide East H Street with a new concrete roadway and sidewalk handicap ramps will likely move a step closer to groundbreaking Monday evening when the McCook City Council considers approval of the engineering services contract for the project. Councilors will consider the contract between the City of McCook and W. Design Associates during their regularly scheduled meeting, 7:30 p.m., at the Municipal Facility on West C Street...
Parking facelifts among plans (03/22/13)
BRUCE BAKER City Editor McCOOK, Nebraska -- After engineers looked further into improvements to be made to crosswalks, at the intersection of Norris Avenue and B Street, it was determined that changes to the alignment and slope of the existing ADA ramps was too costly to proceed with. ...
Civic grant application raises questions over possible results (03/20/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Several citizens and councilors questioned the results and intent of a $250,000 convention center grant application for the city, Monday evening, prior to the McCook City Council authorizing the application on a split vote. The grant with the Nebraska Civic and Community Financing Fund was hailed by economic development representatives and City Manager Jeff Hancock as an additional bargaining chip for the city, should a potential hotel development project reach the negotiating table stage. ...
Audit shows solid cost control (03/19/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council received annual auditors report of the city's financial statements, assets and financial activity, which indicated exceptional cost control measures by city staff and offered comparisons to other Nebraska cities of similar size...
City to begin crack-sealing on Monday (03/08/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The City of McCook will begin crack sealing various streets in the community on Monday, March 11. City officials estimate that it should take two to three days to complete, weather permitting. The contractor is B and H Paving. The city asks citizens to remove any vehicles that are parked on the following streets, beginning Monday:...
Officials ponder extent of parking problems (03/07/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council mulled several options to address downtown parking issues, while some officials raised questions as to whether the problem was really one experienced by many citizens or just a few. Councilor Jerry Calvin, a former McCook police officer, stated that city ordinance on the topic was clear and he would like to see them enforced...
Street repair meeting set (03/06/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The City of McCook is coordinating a public meeting on Thursday, 7 p.m., at the Heritage Senior Center pertaining to a 2014 street improvement project on several McCook streets. Areas effected by the project include East Seventh Street, Country Club Drive, East Fifth Street and Seminole Drive...
City seeking tenants for auditorium (03/06/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The City of McCook will proceed with recruiting tenants to rent commercial space, in what was previously the home to city administration offices and council chambers. The McCook City Council directed city staff to develop a letter of interest Monday evening, intended to assist with soliciting tenants at the Memorial Auditorium building on West Fifth Street...
City Council advances plan (03/05/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council advanced a grant application that will provide more than $450,000 in improvements to the downtown McCook area. Councilors weighed whether or not the $111,700 in required matching funds was the best use of local dollars Monday evening during their regularly scheduled meeting, before unanimously approving the application...
City may crack down on parking (03/01/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council has a trio of discussion items scheduled for Monday evening, including downtown parking, the future use of Memorial Auditorium and the status of the city's 2012-13 Strategic Plan. The downtown parking discussion will include whether or not to increase enforcement efforts by the police department. ...
City seeks help preparing for storm (02/19/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The City of McCook is requesting assistance from citizens during their preparation for a snowfall predicted for Wednesday and Thursday. City staff is asking citizens to remove vehicles from streets, specifically the emergency snow routes which are marked by signs accordingly...
Council OKs blighted designation (02/19/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Tax increment financing is a powerful tool that makes major redevelopment possible in towns like McCook, a self-described "country lawyer" told the McCook City Council Monday night. Mike Bacon should know. Twenty years ago, he helped Gothenburg use TIF to land a Baldwin Filters plant that might otherwise have come to McCook...
Official: Redevelopment area, designation key to housing crisis (02/15/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council will consider approval of a resolution Monday evening that adopts a new redevelopment area and expands the blighted designation to other areas throughout McCook. The expansion of the designation is driven by efforts to address a housing shortage, which McCook Economic Development Executive Director Rex Nelson said is a priority to the community...
Citizens can air concerns Monday night (02/15/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Several public hearings scheduled for Monday evening offer citizens a rare opportunity to have their voices heard on a range of local topics, all in one meeting. The McCook City Council will coordinate public hearings pertaining to downtown revitalization, priority of street improvements, expanding the blighted designation to several neighborhoods and updates to the city's official zoning map. ...
City to unveil one- and six-year street plans (02/14/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The City of McCook will coordinate a public hearing to outline its one- and six-year proposed plan for new construction of local roads and streets, Monday evening. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. in City Council chambers at the McCook Municipal Facility...
Development plan includes 'Bison Loop' (02/11/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- A recently released revitalization plan for downtown McCook calls for the creation of the "Bison Loop," a combination of new sidewalk construction and improvements to existing sidewalks, enhanced with lighting, signage and landscaping improvements...
First phase of revitalization plan to be unveiled Monday (02/08/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- A public hearing will be coordinated Monday evening to present the Downtown Revitalization Plan that intends to lay the groundwork for how the city will spend a $350,000 economic development grant it has been awarded. The McCook Planning Commission will be presented with the plan during a public hearing, Monday evening, 5:15 p.m. at City Council Chambers, which will be followed by an opportunity for public comment...
Set for improvements (02/06/13)
A drop box on the new municipal facility is an improvement over the one on the old building, but it's at the wrong height and too difficult to reach from many vehicles, so the city is exploring ways to improve it, according to Utility Director Jesse Dutcher. ...
Council sends 'blighted' proposal to Planning Commission (02/05/13)
BRUCE BAKER City Editor McCOOK, Nebraska -- A blighted designation on properties throughout McCook, as proposed by a study forwarded to the McCook Planning Commission recently, may affect property appraisals in the area. A McCook Economic Development Corp. representative told the McCook City Council Monday evening that the designation would not have an impact on loan activity and likely would have a positive effect on property values...
Council to consider more blighted areas (02/01/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council will consider approval of a resolution Monday evening that could begin the process of expanding the "blighted" area of McCook past the Norris Avenue business zone. The resolution forwards a blight study on to the McCook Planning Commission which recommends significant expansion of the designated area, in an effort to qualify for financial incentives such as Tax Increment Financing. ...
Earlier flight time to Denver (01/31/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Great Lakes Airlines will change departure time of its McCook-to-Denver flight to an earlier time. According to the airport manager at McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport, City Manager Jeff Hancock, the 5:09 p.m. flight will begin departing at 2:56 p.m., effective Feb. 1, 2013...
Police chief keeps eye on legislation (01/29/13)
BRUCE BAKER City Editor McCOOK, Nebraska -- More than 600 bills were introduced this session by Nebraska legislators, many of which will, of course, have an effect on law enforcement and public safety. McCook Chief of Police Isaac Brown recapped a select few for the Gazette, which he believed were of particular interest...
Internet sales tax collection lacking, says official (01/25/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- City Manager Jeff Hancock repeated a call for an effective method to tax Internet sales during the Chamber of Commerce legislative conference call, Thursday morning. Hancock voiced a similar message to Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy last week during his visit to the McCook airport and this week spoke to Sen. Mark Christensen via the conference call...
Parking and downtown redevelopment (01/25/13)
I wish to comment on the downtown redevelopment project that has been designed and proposed for McCook. I have practiced in downtown McCook for the past 39 years and have had growing concerns that McCook is out of touch with downtown to its detriment. Time and again surveys show the greatest concern for downtown is parking...
Council seeks input on auditorium (01/22/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council hopes that input from citizens over the next two weeks will assist in deciding the future of Memorial Auditorium. The building has been locked up since city offices relocated over the past several weeks to their new Municipal Facility on West C Street, but a group of morning walkers is hoping to resume their activities and at least a couple of local business representatives have shown interest in renting office space at the location...
Jogger, walkers want action by McCook City Council (01/18/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- While local walkers want the city to keep one of their favorite exercise spots open, a woman is asking the city to pay for injuries she sustained while jogging outdoors. Monday, the McCook City Council will receive a claim for damages from a 20-year-old McCook woman who is seeking compensation from the city for an injury she suffered while jogging home from a friend's house, on a Saturday evening in December...
Downtown redevelopment plan nearly ready to submit (01/11/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- City Manager Jeff Hancock described potential improvements to the downtown McCook retail zone as a project that would be tackled in phases, one at a time, as the community's budget would allow. "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time," said Hancock, to a group of more than 30 attending a presentation from the design team hired by city staff to head up the project...
Downtown committee seeks public input (01/09/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The City of McCook and the Downtown Planning Steering Committee is inviting everyone interested in downtown McCook to attend a presentation and provide comment of the proposed downtown plan at 6 p.m. Thursday at Heritage Senior Center, 1400 W. Fifth...
City: Rented trash trailers still necessary (01/08/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Prior to the McCook City Council forwarding a claim for damages from the city's contracted trash hauler on to their insurance carrier, Monday evening, city staff explained that a $4,000 monthly rental expense of unused trash hauling trailers by the city was still deemed necessary. Public Works Director Kyle Potthoff explained that although the trailers were not being utilized they were a necessary "insurance policy" that city staff was not taking lightly...
Trash hauler submits claim that city damaged semi trailer (01/04/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council will receive a claim for damages from the city's contracted trash hauler that alleges city staff caused a significant amount of damage to one of the company's trailers while it was being loaded. The claim cites minor damage to the company's trailers as being a common occurrence but the amount of damage caused during the afternoon of Dec. 13, 2012, was "too much damage to ignore."...
Construction drops to 2009 levels (01/03/13)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- McCook area construction project costs for 2012 totaled just over $16 million, well shy of the $29 million mark reached the previous two years. The bulk of the decrease can be traced to no activity in the school and public building category, which racked up more than $11 million in 2011...
City bill drop moving to new location (12/28/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- As part of the City of McCook's move to the new municipal facility, the administration offices, including the utility billing department, will be closed Jan. 4-Jan 7, 2013. Utility payments may still be dropped in the drop box at the old city auditorium, 302 W. Fifth, until Jan. 7, 2013. Effective Jan. 8, 2013, all utility payments, including drop box payments, will be accepted at the new location, 505 West c...
City Sales tax receipts show continued growth (12/28/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- City of McCook 1 percent sales tax receipts for the first quarter of the 2012-13 fiscal year totaled $31,704 more than what was collected during the prior year. October and December 2012 receipts each came in more than $10,000 ahead of prior year, with September 2012 receipts posting a rare $819 decrease when compared to September 2011 receipts...
Plans would install sponsored park benches (12/20/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The owner of JLB Welding in McCook, Jeremy Bain, presented the McCook Parks Advisory Board with a proposal that could supply new steel benches to various locations at no cost to the city. Bain said during the board's Tuesday afternoon meeting that he would work with city staff to identify 12 ideal locations for the benches and then sell one marketing spot per bench to a local business to cover expenses...
City asks for public help in dealing with snowstorm (12/18/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The City of McCook is asking for the public's help with snow-removal efforts in anticipation of snow expected Wednesday and Wednesday night. Citizens are asked to remove their vehicles from the streets, particularly from emergency snow routes marked by green emergency snow route signs...
Council pauses in tribute to shooting victims; guns removed from toy giveaway (12/18/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The tragic shooting at a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school was fresh on the minds of many community leaders Monday evening, as the McCook City Council paused for a moment of silence in remembrance of the victims and a local charity coordinator announced that all toy guns had been removed from a Christmas toy giveaway event...
Almost done (12/14/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- McCook city staff are busily packing up any non-essential items as office furniture and other final touches are placed on their new Municipal Facility being constructed on West Fifth Street. City administration offices do not plan to operate out of the new building until after the first of the year, according to City Manager Jeff Hancock, who anticipated needing to close city offices for one or two days as part of the transition...
Planning commissioner meets tonight (12/10/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook Planning Commission will coordinate a public hearing this evening to discuss a proposed 20 acre subdivision that will be located north of McCook on County Road 385. Josh and Jill Hill have requested approval of the final plat and minor subdivision, which is located within the two mile extra-territorial jurisdiction of the City of McCook...
City buying land for two brine ponds (11/30/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council will be asked to authorize a purchase agreement between the City of McCook and Sevim Ozalp Randel for the purchase of approximately 10 acres of farm land at $35,000. Councilors will consider approval of the agreement during their regularly scheduled meeting, Monday evening, 7:30 p.m., at Memorial Auditorium...
City continues review of building code (11/27/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The City of McCook Building Code Review Committee will meet Wednesday to review and make recommendations for revisions to Chapters 11 through 15 of the 2012 International Residential Code. The chapters include building codes pertaining to energy efficiency, mechanical administration, general mechanical system requirements, heating and cooling equipment and appliances and exhaust systems...
Early morning lights (11/23/12)
Headlights and taillights streak past the new City of McCook, Nebraska, fire station early Friday morning. Firefighters and city office personnel plan to move into the new city building in mid-December.
McCook Public Works director elected to state executive board (11/23/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The City of McCook Public Works Director, Kyle Potthoff, was elected to be the utilities representative on the League of Nebraska Municipalities Executive Board for a one year term. The league is a nonprofit service association that lobbies for the interests of its member cities and villages to the Nebraska legislature...
Emergency generator purchase likely (11/20/12)
BRUCE BAKER City Editor McCOOK, Nebraska -- City staff answered questions from the McCook City Council, Monday evening, surrounding the likely emergency purchase of a generator for the new Municipal Facility and the situation which brought it about. ...
Fireworks ban authority clears second reading (11/08/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- After drought conditions led to concerns about Fourth of July fireworks, the McCook City Council advanced an ordinance to give the council authority to ban fireworks temporarily. The ordinance, which was passed Monday night on the second of three readings, would not prohibit local sales of fireworks, or the annual Fourth of July fireworks display put on at Red Willow County Fairgrounds...
County to take over jail operations Dec. 18 (11/06/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council and Red Willow County Commissioners agreed to terms on the county's use of the city jail facility, beginning Dec. 18, 2012. The Red Willow County Sheriff's Department will assume responsibility for jail operations on that date, while the McCook Police Department is still operating out of the West B Street facility. ...
City studies web presence (11/05/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The City of McCook website was graded a "C-" last week by Sunshine Review, a nonprofit, pro-transparency organization, that handed down a "D+" grade for the State of Nebraska in late August. The city website, www. cityofmccook.com, was given high marks for containing elected officials and department heads contact information; archived meeting agendas, minutes, location and dates; building codes and permit applications; the most recent city budget; bids published online; and the city clerk acknowledging her role as the public information officer.. ...
City may accept cards for utility bills (11/02/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council will consider approval of an agreement, Monday evening, that would allow citizens to pay their utility bills with credit or debit cards. The Payport program, provided by Nebraska.gov, would give citizens the option to pay via debit or credit cards by paying a 2.49 percent fee. The fee equates to $1.75 on an average $70 water, sewer and trash bill...
Passenger numbers continue to decline (10/23/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Third quarter boarded passenger numbers at McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport totaled 418 in 2012, down slightly more than 11 percent when compared to the 470 that boarded during the same time period in 2011. The July, August and September decline continues a negative trend that began in early 2011...
Downtown planning meeting Tuesday (10/22/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- City Manager Jeff Hancock is encouraging citizens to attend a planning meeting, Tuesday evening, that will offer an opportunity to work alongside planners, landscape architects and artists, to design projects for improving downtown McCook. The meeting is part of a coordinated effort to develop options for how to spend a $350,000 CDBG grant for downtown development, that the City of McCook is anticipated to receive in 2013...
Construction falls short of prior year (10/19/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- McCook area construction project costs were down more than $1.5 million combined during July, August and September, when compared to the same time period in 2011. The third quarter decline in activity pushes the 2012 year-to-date amount more than $5.2 million behind 2011 numbers, according to building permit information released by city staff...
Subdivision plan on agenda for Planning Commission (10/12/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook Planning Commission will coordinate a public hearing Monday evening to discuss a request for approval of a minor subdivision just West of U.S. Highway 83 on Drive 716. The application from Richard Cappel to create "Cappel Industrial Park" indicates the subdivision would be located just west of property approved to be developed for storage units and southwest of the future home of JLB Welding...
Fireworks ban ability on agenda (10/12/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council will consider adding a city ordinance that would authorize them to implement a temporary ban on permissible fireworks within city limits, should forecasted weather conditions create a very high risk of fire danger. Although the fire department had very few firework related fires during a record dry and hot 4th of July season this year, concerns raised by citizens are said to be the driving force behind the new ordinance...
Water rates may climb despite increased sales (08/17/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council will consider authorizing a 3.5 percent water rate increase in addition to a 3.5 percent sewer rate increase Monday evening. If approved residential rates are anticipated to increase on average by $10 annually for sewer and $16 annually for water...
Bus barn approved for rezoning (08/15/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook Planning Commission approved a request from a potential buyer of the school bus barn property to rezone the northern portion of the property from residential medium to business commercial. The request was approved during the commission's regularly scheduled meeting, Monday evening, with the addition of a fence between proposed buildings on the east side...
Valuation boosts property taxes $38k on average (08/09/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The City of McCook property tax levy is set to remain at the same $0.319044 rate that it has since 2002. A three-year-review of actual revenues shows that even though the rate has remained the same, revenues have grown by an average $38,920 per year as a result of assessed valuation changes...
City Council to clarify sales tax use (08/06/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- City Manager Jeff Hancock intends to clarify the ballot language of the two individual McCook sales taxes during tonight's McCook City Council meeting at Memorial Auditorium. Hancock said in his City Manager Newsletter released Friday that he will attempt to put the explanation in writing and provide councilors with some options to assist in the funding of the city's much needed capital equipment...
Longevity, merit push city raises near 7 percent (08/02/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- While the proposed city budget includes a 2.5 percent wage increase, the actual increase is closer to 7 percent when merit and longevity increases are included, according to an analysis of budget figures. The proposed 2012-13 McCook city budget reflects an annual increase of $220,447 to city employee wages, in the form of merit and longevity increases combined with a 2.5 percent wage increase. ...
Higher ambulance fees proposed (08/01/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- City staff proposed increases to some ambulance fees Monday evening during a budget meeting with the McCook City Council. The increases are estimated to generate $17,000 annually which will be used to finance the purchase of three new defibrillator/cardiac monitors for McCook emergency responders...
City mulls wildlife contract (08/01/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The City of McCook is considering picking up a USDA contract for assistance with wildlife that Red Willow County Commissioners recently voted to discontinue. Public Works Director Kyle Potthoff told the McCook City Council, Monday evening, that the recent discovery of a bat problem in at least one McCook home had brought the issue up...
Budget plan enacts cell phone fees (07/31/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The proposed 2012-13 McCook city budget calls for creation of a mobile phone occupation tax, which will put McCook right on track with the rest of the state. According to the smartmoney.com website, Nebraska already has the highest taxes and fees on wireless service in the nation...
New mobile phone tax, city-wide raise proposed in budget (07/30/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- City staff released their preliminary 2012-13 city wide budget which features the creation of a 6 percent mobile telephone occupation tax and doubling the existing land line occupation tax from 3 to 6 percent. The tax increases are anticipated to generate an additional $61,000, which when combined with other proposed increases in ambulance fees are estimated to generate a combined $78,000 annually. ...
Special meeting Monday (07/27/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council plans a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday to consider a special designated liquor license for Brahmers Steakhouse and Saloon LLC, for a wedding reception set for the Red Willow County Community Building, 1415 W. Fifth, from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 11...
Judge sides with resident in city sewer refund dispute (07/26/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- A McCook woman who had been charged by the city for more than a year for sewer services that weren't being provided was brought up on theft charges after she cashed a refund check that the city mistakingly wrote to her for more than six times the intended amount...
Mayor starts 'Random Acts' month with his own act of charity (07/17/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Shortly after approving a proclamation designating the month of August 2012 as "Random Acts of Kindness Month," Mayor Dennis Berry performed his own such act. During the McCook City Council's regularly scheduled meeting, Monday evening, city staff had cited concerns that a costly precedent would be set if a request to waive Memorial Auditorium usage fees was approved. The $425 in fees related to the McCook Toy Box and Coat Closet events...
Eminent domain proposal on city agenda (07/13/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- City staff is asking the McCook City Council to authorize the go ahead with eminent domain procedures after attempts to negotiate a purchase price for a 10 acre tract of land adjacent to the waste water treatment facility have failed. The city seeks to acquire the land for the EPA mandated construction of two lagoons to dissipate brine and hard water, that has historically been released into the Republican River...
Ag business closer to new home (07/10/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook Planning Commission unanimously approved a request to allow a truck and farm equipment repair facility to be operated on a lot located on the North side of Drive 716, just west of Orscheln's. The approval puts the business one step closer to its goal of relocating and expanding, which owner Randy Lashley says would mean the addition of at least five new jobs for the area...
Water Warning lifted (07/09/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- A Water Warning issued Friday has been lifted by McCook city officials. Weekend rains greatly reduced the demand for water, allowing the system to be replenished. The assistance from the public was greatly appreciated, according to a news release...
Fire chief thankful for calm Fourth of July week (07/09/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- McCook Fire Chief Marc Harpham praised efforts by citizens to keep firework related calls to a minimum during one of the driest years in recent history. The McCook Fire Department received no firework-related calls on the final day of legal discharge, Thursday, and had a combined four calls for the entire 4th of July week...
Planners to consider development (07/06/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook Planning Commission will coordinate a public hearing Monday evening to discuss a request to allow a truck and farm equipment repair facility on a lot located on the North side of Drive 716, to the west of U.S. Highway 83...
City water use back on track (07/03/12)
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.. ...
Downtown revitalization on city agenda (06/29/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council will consider approval of a contract necessary to develop a downtown revitalization plan, which could lead to roughly $350,000 in downtown infrastructure improvements. The Community Development Block Grant contract is between the City of McCook and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development and focuses on creating a revitalization plan at an anticipated cost of $39,300...
Branches must be trimmed (06/27/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The City of McCook has been receiving concerns about low-hanging tree branches over sidewalks and streets. City codes requires branches to be a minimum of 8 feet above a sidewalk and 16 feet above a street or alley.
Watering limits mandatory (06/27/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Because of the extreme heat and very high water usage, the City of McCook is stating that effective immediately, all citizens must refrain from using any outside water between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. While prior water restrictions were voluntary, they were elevated to mandatory with this action...
Pastor of parched parish appeals to higher power (06/19/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- "I'm not trying to tell you how to do your job," the Rev. Lance Clay said at the conclusion of Monday night's invocation at the McCook City Council meeting. "But we sure could use some rain." The pastor of Memorial United Methodist Church didn't get any arguments from the others in attendance...
City outlines areas with potential for development (06/07/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- During the McCook City Council meeting, Monday evening at council chambers, Utility Director Jesse Dutcher presented information pertaining to the most water and sewer accessible areas for new development in McCook. Dutcher identified nine potential subdivision areas, located within city limits or the two mile extra-territorial zone, that he believed represented the most accessible new sites...
Sales tax use clarified as budget process begins (06/05/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- City Attorney Nate Schneider issued a memo to McCook City Council members in response to recent claims that the increasing amount of sales tax received by the city should require a reduction in the city property tax levy. In the memo Schneider explained that a reduction in the levy was not required and said those who voted yes for the tax voted for the "described property tax relief," which he said could be either direct property tax relief or relief through indirect means...
Council to set priorities for 2012-13 budget (06/01/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council will discuss a proposed strategic budget plan for the city, which features housing development as the highest short-term priority and renewal of sales tax revenue as the highest ranked long term project. The preliminary plan was drafted by City Manager Jeff Hancock from input provided by councilors and city department heads during their strategic planning session in April...
City, county working on jail contract (05/24/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Red Willow County Commissioners formally requested the City of McCook draft an agreement detailing guidelines for their use of the existing city police and jail facility once it is vacated. In a letter to the city, commissioners indicated they would like to use the facility until construction of their own Law Enforcement Center and jail on Norris Avenue is completed...
Council focuses on housing issue (05/22/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council received a report Monday about the local housing shortage and what is being done about it. The report targeted various market segments and indicated that Tax Increment Financing funds look to be a big part of the solution...
City may hike limit requiring architect, engineer (05/18/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Another procedural change pertaining to how city staff handles future purchases will be considered by the McCook City Council. After raising the purchasing limit of city staff earlier in the month, councilors will consider more than doubling the project dollar amount that triggers the required involvement of an engineer or architect. ...
City manager calls for 4-lane Highway 83 (05/17/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- City Manager Jeff Hancock asked the Nebraska Department of Roads to include expanding U.S. Highway 83 into a four lane highway as one of its long range goals. The comments were submitted as input on the state's Long Range Transportation Plan...
Ex councilman questions sales tax relief (05/08/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- A former city councilman is concerned that sales tax revenue funneled into the city's general fund is exceeding the amount allowed by state law and should require a tax credit or a reduction in the city's property tax levy to rectify...
City seeks more leeway in purchases (05/04/12)
BRUCE BAKER City Editor McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council will consider ordinance changes that would increase the purchasing limit of city staff, without requiring bidding or council approval, from $20,000 to $30,000. The changes also will include a provision that would allow city staff to negotiate a contract when bids come in over the approved amount, without returning to council for approval...
Library plans open house to show off new computers (04/25/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook Public Library recently received nine new computers through the Library Broadband Builds Nebraska Communities project. The computers are installed and ready for use by the public. The computers can be used free of charge to access court records, find health information, take advantage of educational opportunities, hunt for jobs, explore small business options, etc...
Sales tax receipts increasing (04/24/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The 2012 first quarter one percent sales tax receipts for the City of McCook came in at an accumulated $29,661 more than the prior year. The three month total of $434,595 also reflects an amount $62,523 more than the receipts budgeted for by city staff...
East Ward project still a 'go' (04/20/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Reports received last week indicated that contractors who began work on the East Ward Village project had been called off of the job site and were speculating the Senior Housing project had been cancelled. The McCook Housing Agency, manager for the...
East Ward project still a 'go' (04/20/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Reports received last week indicated that contractors who began work on the East Ward Village project had been called off of the job site and were speculating the Senior Housing project had been cancelled. The McCook Housing Agency, manager for the...
City seeks jail clarification from county (04/17/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The city officially wants to know how long the county needs to use its jail. The McCook City Council authorized staff to draft an official request Monday night. The McCook Police Department is expected to move into the new Municipal Facility on West Fifth Street before the end of the year...
Food service business seeks loan (04/16/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council will consider an application for an economic development loan, Monday evening during their regularly scheduled meeting at Memorial Auditorium, from a couple seeking to start-up a new food service business in McCook...
City begins plans for moving out (04/13/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook Police and Fire departments are anticipated to be relocated into the new voter-approved Municipal Facility before the end of the year, prompting the McCook City Council to begin discussions about the future of current facilities...
Airport wildlife fence should be complete soon (04/12/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- City staff anticipates the wildlife fence at McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport to have full enclosure of the area it will cover by the end of the month. Public Works Director Kyle Potthoff told members of the McCook Airport Advisory Board, Tuesday afternoon during their regularly scheduled meeting at Heritage Senior Center, that once enclosure was reached contractors would focus on trenching and removal of the old fencing...
City officials see housing as priority (04/12/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Housing emerged as a top priority as McCook City Council members and city department heads participated in their first pre-budget Strategic Planning Session, Tuesday evening, at Heritage Senior Center. The meeting was coordinated by City Manager Jeff Hancock to provide useful budgeting information to department heads, in addition to providing an opportunity for councilors and city staff to share ideas and concerns pertaining to the future of the area...
Water slide delayed until 2013 or beyond (04/06/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- City staff informed members of the Parks Advisory Board, Thursday morning during their regular meeting at the Heritage Senior Center, that the proposed water slide at McCook Municipal Pool would be delayed at least until next year. The water slide was already on hold while a new manufacturer was found and then city staff discovered that state statutes required an engineering study to be completed...
Deadline for city tree rebates June 22 (03/30/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The City of McCook is continuing the Tree Rebate Program for trees purchased between April 1 and June 15, 2012. Rebate requests need to be received by June 22, according to a press release issued earlier this week. The program, designed by the McCook Tree Advisory Board, is intended to encourage property owners to plant trees and does have certain requirements that must be followed...
State plans to inventory McCook trees (03/30/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The City of McCook was informed that the Nebraska Forestry Service has chosen McCook as one of the 100 communities they will be conducting a full tree inventory of this year. Public Works Director Kyle Potthoff told members of the Tree Advisory Board, Monday afternoon, that it had been approximately 10 years since the last inventory was conducted by the forestry service, which he believed was about average. ...
Council considers comment time limits (03/30/12)
BRUCE BAKER City Editor McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council will consider implementing new citizen comment guidelines, Monday evening, 7:30 p.m., during its semi-monthly meeting at Memorial Auditorium. The guidelines limit citizen input to three minutes per topic and require anyone making comments to come to the podium and identify themselves...
Budget workshops may be cut (03/21/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- During a discussion of the city budget calendar, strategic planning session and budget retreat dates Monday evening, City Manager Jeff Hancock hinted at moving away from the city's previous practice of submitting a preliminary city budget to the public and then approving it via three readings...
Council to maintain 'blighted' designation downtown (03/20/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council coordinated a public hearing, Monday evening, to discuss whether the majority of the downtown business district should be declared "blighted" and "substandard." The designations, as defined by Nebraska Statute 18-2103, will declare the area conducive to ill health, the transmission of disease and crime and detrimental to public health and welfare, and were described as being sought to increase eligibility for additional future grants for downtown infrastructure, specifically Tax Increment Financing.. ...
City Council considering 'blighted' tag (03/19/12)
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."...
Downtown McCook 'detrimental to public health'? (03/16/12)
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...
'High-pressure' repair (03/14/12)
City of McCook, Nebraska, employee Mike Jonasen, right, digs a hole in the dirt using the high-pressure water wand on the sewer department's vacuum truck, helping water crews repair a water line on an island in the 600 block of Norris Avenue Tuesday morning. ...
Accountants praise city books (03/06/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The City of McCook received praise from the accounting firm that performed their annual audit of financial statements, Monday evening, during the McCook City Council's semi-monthly meeting at council chambers. Terry Galloway with Almquist Maltzahn Galloway & Luth of Grand Island, Nebraska, said the city had done an excellent job of holding down spending, budgeting and the way they kept costs down...
Comprehensive plan targeted by city manager (03/02/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- City Manager Jeff Hancock will ask the McCook City Council to grant approval to apply for grant funding to update the City Comprehensive Plan, Monday evening, 7:30 p.m., during their semi-monthly meeting at Memorial Auditorium. According to Hancock the last plan was done in 1999 and is severely outdated...
City manager says bill could encourage more local cooperation (02/24/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- A bill prioritized by Nebraska Sen. Brad Ashford earlier this month drew support from City Manager Jeff Hancock during the McCook Area Chamber of Commerce legislative conference call, Thursday morning. Hancock said that LB 357 provided an opportunity for additional sales tax that could be used for joint projects between entities such as the City of McCook and Red Willow County. ...
Building walls (02/22/12)
Walls are going up quickly at the new McCook Municipal Facility, housing police, fire and city administration departments. Check out the Gazette all week for this and other improvements in our annual Progress edition, inside.
DEQ signs off on water, sewer plans (02/22/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality has reported a finding of no significant impact pertaining to a state revolving fund loan request from the City of McCook for water and sewer service improvements. The $1,830,000 project is anticipated to improve water quality discharged by the waste water treatment plant into the Republican River, in addition to improving reliability of McCook's public water system...
Delay results in enlarged water slide (02/21/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The sales tax-funded $180,000 water slide that was anticipated to be built at the McCook swimming pool this summer may be delayed. Public Works Director Kyle Potthoff told the Parks Advisory Board that the company he had been working with on the project had apparently gone out of business. Potthoff explained Thursday afternoon that the new company he was working with would be targeting a mid-to-late pool season completion, as a "best- case" scenario...
City Council to end three-reading rule (02/21/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council briefly entertained immediately implementing a new process which will circumvent the three-reading rule for all items approved by council members, before ultimately deciding to forego the move until its next meeting. The change in procedure was brought up Monday evening, during the council's semi-monthly meeting at Council Chambers...
Public input sought on street project priorities (02/17/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council will coordinate a public hearing, Monday evening to consider the one and six year street improvement plan for the city. The hearing is scheduled during their semi-monthly meeting, 7:30 p.m., at Memorial Auditorium...
FAA bill ensures air service for two years (02/10/12)
BRUCE BAKER City Editor McCOOK, Nebraska -- An essential air service bill that passed in the U.S. Senate earlier this week has ensured that McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport will continue commercial air service for at least two more years, but in order to guarantee service beyond that at least one member of the Airport Advisory Commission believes increasing the number boarding locally must be a priority...
FAA bill ensures air service for two years (02/10/12)
Council extends loan for East Ward Village (02/07/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council approved an amendment to the $105,000 East Ward Village loan which would give the developer 30 years to pay it back. Prior to the action at Monday night's regularly scheduled meeting at council chambers, City Attorney Nate Schneider said that the option of granting the money to the housing developer had also been explored before ultimately deciding on the amendment...
East Ward to dominate meeting (02/03/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council will review items pertaining to the progress of the East Ward Village senior housing construction project, Monday evening during their semi-monthly meeting, 7:30 p.m., at Memorial Auditorium. Councilors will consider an amended agreement pertaining to the loan they committed to provide as the final financing piece for the project in addition to coordinating a public hearing to discuss an amendment to the East Ward Village development district...
Teacher, retiree appointed to City Council (01/17/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Mayor Dennis Berry appointed Bruce McDowell and Janet Hepp to fill the two vacant City Council seats, Monday evening, during the council's regularly scheduled meeting at council chambers. The appointments were unanimously approved without comment by fellow City Councilmen Mike Gonzales and Jerry Calvin...
City officials to testify in Lincoln (01/16/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Two McCook officials will testify on a bill introduced by Sen. Mark Christensen, to change a law that forced two city councilors to forfeit their seats after one was convicted of harboring a potentially vicious dog and the other was convicted of disturbing the peace. City Manager Jeff Hancock and City Councilman Mike Gonzales will address Nebraska legislators in testimony at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the capitol in Lincoln...
Six apply for council (01/13/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Mayor Dennis Berry will choose among six applicants to appoint two citizens to fill the vacant City Council seats, Monday evening, 7:30 p.m., during the council's semi-monthly meeting at Memorial Auditorium. If the Mayor's appointments are approved by at least one of the two other city council members, the appointees will be administered the oath of office and fill the positions until Dec. ...
Christensen introduces bill on City Council (01/06/12)
Christensen introduces law on City Council LINCOLN, Nebraska -- Sen. Mark Christensen introduced legislation Thursday morning to change the Nebraska law that forced two McCook City Councilman to forfeit their seats earlier this week. LB 786 seeks to modify section 19-613 of the Revised Statutes of Nebraska, which addresses forfeiture of office for council members, in a manner that will replace the reference "convicted of a crime" with "convicted of a felony or of any public offense involving the violation of the oath of office of such member.". ...
Council seats officially declared vacant (01/04/12)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council declared seats previously occupied by councilmen Aaron Kircher and Shane Hilker as vacant, Tuesday evening, during their regular meeting at Council Chambers. Mayor Dennis Berry said that similar vacancies had been filled without the expense of a special election, which he believed to be in the $6,000 to $8,000 range, and he recommended proceeding with the appointment process to fill the seats...
Streets closed (01/03/12)
McCook, Nebraska -- The City of McCook Utility Department is notifying motorists that West C and D streets between West Fourth and Fifth will be closed to through traffic from Wednesday until Monday to allow construction crews to replace concrete that was removed this fall...
City, MEDC target lack of local housing (12/30/11)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- City Manager Jeff Hancock will be participating in a four-hour strategic planning session with the McCook Economic Development Corp. Housing Committee, MEDC Executive Director Rex Nelson and MEDC Housing Development Director Mary Kircher, Jan. 10...
Mayor can decide how to fill vacancies (12/30/11)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council will direct city staff to declare notice of vacancies for the seats formerly occupied by Council members Aaron Kircher and Shane Hilker, Tuesday evening, 7:30 p.m., during their semi-monthly meeting at Memorial Auditorium...
Councilmen asked for response to forfeiture (12/28/11)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- McCook City Councilmen Aaron Kircher and Shane Hilker received a letter from city attorney Nate Schneider, just prior to the Christmas weekend, that requested their decision to "acknowledge or not acknowledge" the forfeiture of their offices. ...
Kircher letter to council (12/28/11)
McCook City Councilman Aaron Kircher delivered the following letter to city officials on Tuesday: December 27, 2011 To: Nate Schneider, City Attorney J. Jeff Hancock, City Manager Jerry Calvin, City Council Member Mike Gonzales, City Council Member Dennis Berry, Mayor...
Councilman steps down (12/20/11)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Howard Olsen of Simmons Olsen Law Firm told the McCook City Council that two City Council seats were forfeit at the time of the presiding councilors' convictions in county court. The opinion, from the Scottsbluff, Nebraska, firm, came Monday evening during the council's semi-monthly meeting at Council Chambers...
Councilman, police chief express concern over club (12/20/11)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- During the McCook City Council's annual renewal of current retail liquor licenses, Monday evening, a pair of councilors voiced concerns pertaining to the activity at Sports Night Club. Councilman Mike Gonzales asked Chief of Police Isaac Brown, "Just going through these, it looks like there is one establishment that has more infractions than others. What's it take before there is a recommendation not to approve, how bad does it need to get?"...
Councilman should resign so city can get on with business (12/20/11)
One councilman, convicted of harboring a "potentially" vicious dog, has stepped down and another, convicted of disturbing the peace, hasn't done so yet. An outside attorney brought in to advise the city said that a 1920s law was worded such that the two councilmen forfeited their seats at the time of their convictions. What does that mean?...
Law firm: City Council members should resign (12/19/11)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- A law firm hired to give an opinion on two McCook City Council members convicted of minor crimes says they should resign immediately. The legal opinion goes on to state that even speeding tickets would constitute a crime within the meaning of the statute...
Lawyer to offer opinion, field questions (12/16/11)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Howard Olsen of Simmons Olsen Law Firm in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, will present his opinion pertaining to the continued qualifications of McCook City Council members Aaron Kircher and Shane Hilker, Monday evening, 7:30 p.m., at Memorial Auditorium...
City Council ponders hiring Scottsbluff firm (12/07/11)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- City staff will recommend the McCook City Council hire Howard Olsen of Simmons Olsen Law Firm in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, to perform work that City Attorney Nate Schneider has deemed necessary to determine whether two council members should forfeit their positions. The recommendation will be considered Thursday evening, 7:30 p.m., during their semi-monthly meeting at Memorial Auditorium...