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Monday, June 27, 2016
McCook City Council

News related to the City of McCook

Farmers Market coupons available at Senior Center (06/24/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Nebraska Senior Farmers market Coupons will be available at the McCook heritage Senior Center, 1312 W. Fifth on Tuesday, June 28, Wednesday, June 29, at 1 p.m. and Thursday, June 30 at 1 p.m. Recipients must attend one of these informational meetings in order to receive coupons...
Airport passenger counts climbing (06/23/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The number of commercial passengers flying out of the McCook airport is increasing weekly, according to airline officials. Boutique Air CEO Shawn Simpson said his airline boarded 25 to 35 passengers the first week of operations, followed by 45 the second week and 60 during week three...
Downtown parking lot, walkway on track for July completion (06/15/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A downtown improvement project connecting a city parking lot to Norris Avenue is nearing completion. Contractors are awaiting the arrival of hand-railing and making other finishing touches and estimate the project will be completed by early July...
Tick affliction -- Warm winter, wet spring ideal for ticks (06/10/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Three cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever were confirmed in the Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department district covering Chase, Dundy, Frontier, Furnas, Hayes, Hitchcock, Keith, Perkins and Red Willow counties. "A warm winter and wet spring has made ideal conditions for ticks," said Melissa Propp, SWNPHD Public Health Nurse. "We want residents to understand that infected ticks can transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and other diseases through their bite."...
Tick affliction -- City attorney hospitalized, recovers from Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (06/10/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Health officials confirmed a third Southwest Nebraska case of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever earlier this week, just as one McCook community leader returned from his own harrowing experience with the disease. McCook City Attorney Nate Mustion spent the majority of what was supposed to be a scenic road-trip to Washington state last week bouncing from one healthcare facility to another before ending up under the care of an infectious disease doctor. ...
City planning next year's budget (06/08/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City leaders began the annual budget process by approving the 2016-17 fiscal year budget calendar earlier this week. The calendar asks for specific City Council budget requests to be presented to city staff by June 20, 2016. The McCook City Council unanimously approved the calendar during Monday's regularly scheduled meeting...
Minimal damage reported around McCook (05/27/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A severe storm which threatened golfball size hail, extreme wind and prime tornado conditions Thursday evening ended up causing very little damage within McCook city limits, according to city officials. City workers cleaned up a pair of mature hackberry trees late Thursday evening but received no other reports of damage within city limits...
Hangar construction to begin soon (05/27/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Contractors and engineers involved in building a new aircraft hangar at the McCook airport will coordinate a pre-construction meeting with the city next week. McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport officials anticipate the 6-hangar project will be completed this year and help reduce a waiting list of approximately 10 aircraft owners interested in space at the airport...
Focus groups explore ideas for local growth (05/27/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- United in their desire to see their community grow, more than 60 McCook citizens spread across the floor of the Graff Event Center Thursday night to launch a landmark program called "Marketing Hometown America." The purpose -- through a series of study group discussions in the next six weeks -- will be to find the best ways to attract new residents to McCook...
MEDC sees quality people, bright future for McCook (05/27/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- McCook Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Kirk Dixon met with an impressive number of area residents over the last few weeks, and he's enjoying every minute of it. "We have such quality people here in southwest Nebraska. I get more excited with each meeting I attend and with each resident I visit with. It's impressive how committed and excellent our people are," said Dixon earlier this week...
Children's Museum idea gains traction (05/25/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- McCook has a lot to offer Southwest Nebraska residents as the retail hub for the region and boasting premiere recreational activity with a solid selection of restaurants. Private and public efforts to expand or improve upon those options, whether it's for the benefit of residents or to capitalize on visitors, are seemingly ongoing, however, economic development officials indicated recently they were particularly encouraged by one intending to establish a children's museum...
Builder breaks, better insurance rates possible (05/23/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City leaders finalized updates and amendments to the McCook Code of Ordinances last week they hope will improve insurance rates for homeowners and provide added flexibility to builders. The updates were part of several items approved by the McCook City Council and authorizing changes to three sections of the city code book; Subdivisions, Zoning and Building Code & Regulations...
City officials confident in new airline (05/20/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- In less than two weeks Southwest Nebraska residents will fly from McCook to Denver for as low as $49 one-way and local airport officials are beginning to get excited. Commercial air service provider Boutique Air is set to take the reins at McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport on June 1...
Councilman: City not paying huge pensions (05/20/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City of McCook workers participating in the employee retirement plan contribute 7 percent of their salary to the plan each pay period and the city matches 100 percent of those contributions on a monthly basis. The city's contribution is small potatoes, according to one City Councilman, who spoke up earlier this week in hopes of setting the record straight...
Committee: MEDC loans current, balance positive (05/19/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The Citizen's Advisory Review Committee provided its quarterly report to the McCook City Council earlier this week, indicating all outstanding McCook Economic Development Corp. loans were current and LB840 balance sheets were in the green. Committee member Troy Bruntz joined new MEDC Executive Director Kirk Dixon in recapping the roughly 20 page report during Monday's meeting of the McCook City Council...
City officials hoping for early flights (05/17/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City officials are excited about a new airline scheduled to start serving McCook next month. Boutique Air is expected to begin serving McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport on June 1, and several weeks of discussions resulted in a lease agreement presented to the McCook City Council Monday night...
Police step up camper parking enforcement (05/16/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The McCook Police Department has seen an uptick in complaints pertaining to oversized vehicles parked on city streets for longer than is allowed and recently announced plans to step up enforcement. City ordinance allows camper, trailer and boat parking on city streets between April 1 and November 1 of each year but limits it to a maximum of 72 hours per occurrence. ...
Less opposition spelled difference in renewal vote (05/12/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The vast majority of McCook voters showed support for the city's economic development program Tuesday, a year after voting down a previous renewal effort. A comparison of the two ballot efforts seems to indicate the change was more about opposition shrinking than supporters growing...
Police seek calls on sidewalk issues (05/10/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- McCook residents living adjacent to absentee property owners that habitually shirk sidewalk clearing responsibilities were advised to make certain the police department is aware of the situation, recently. "We try to get people to comply without issuing tickets, that's not what we're here for," said City Manager Nate Schneider during last week's meeting of the McCook City Council...
Library Summer Reading Program taking registrations (05/06/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Registration began recently for the McCook library's "Summer Reading Program." The deadline for registration is May 27. The 2016 theme is "ON YOUR MARK, GET SET, READ." The program schedule varies by age group, beginning with those heading into Kindergarten on Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., from June 7 to July 26...
Police Week, City Clerks Week proclaimed (05/06/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Earlier this week the McCook City Council proclaimed next week as "National Police Week" and May 15 as "Peace Officers Memorial Day," following similar designations from the President and Congress. Mayor Mike Gonzales called upon citizens to observe the week of May 8-15 with appropriate ceremonies and observances, commemorating police officers past and present, as part of a proclamation approved during Monday's regularly scheduled meeting...
Rezoning request to commission Monday (05/05/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A property owner of several Business Commercial lots on East 12th Street is asking the McCook Planning Commission to change the zoning to Residential Medium Density District. The Planning Commission will consider the request Monday evening, 5:15 p.m. at the Municipal Center, during a regularly scheduled meeting...
Low bid puts hangar on fast track (05/04/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The construction bid for a new 6-plex hangar at the McCook airport came in so low it prompted city and state officials to jockey funds around in an effort to ensure the project advanced. "According to NDA, which is Nebraska Department of Aeronautics, our bid came in substantially favorable to the city. They have bid some other hangars that weren't so favorable to other communities," said Public Works Director Kyle Potthoff Monday evening...
Project advances (05/03/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City leaders approved a planned development district for the Quillan Courts housing project Monday evening. The move brings the McCook Economic Development Corp. closer to increasing its property management responsibilities as Director Kirk Dixon wraps up his second week on the job and voters consider whether to renew the city's economic development program next week...
City asking to change ordinance, snow removal obligation (04/29/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- When a local resident fails to remove snow or ice from the sidewalks adjacent to his property within 24 hours McCook city ordinance puts the duty onto the Public Works Director to remove the substance. City staff think this reference was inadvertently added to the city code book and are asking City Council to make a change...
Celebration ideas sought for state's 150th (04/27/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Two idea-gathering sessions are being planned for Tuesday, May 3 at McMillen Room 201 at the McCook Community College campus. The purpose of the sessions is to gather ideas and information on community events that will take place in 2017 and to make them a part of the Nebraska Sesquicentennial celebration. Anyone who is in charge of organizing community events is encouraged to attend either the 8 a.m. session or the 5 p.m. session...
New hotel, other projects set for zoning hearings (04/25/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The Board of Zoning Adjustment will coordinate several public hearings Monday evening related to zoning variance requests. The requests stem from a variety of issues ranging from driveway length requirements on residential property to setback requirements impacting construction of a new Holiday Inn Express on Highway 83...
Construction activity up (04/21/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- McCook area construction project costs for the first quarter of 2016 came in just shy of $3 million and slightly ahead of the annual average posted over the last six years. January, February and March 2016 combined for $2,891,826 in construction activity, according to building permit information released by city staff earlier this week...
Clear skies ahead for essential air service (04/21/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Officials lauded the U.S. Senate's passing of the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill earlier this week as a boon for essential air service throughout the state. "This is great news for the Essential Air Service program and the City of McCook. This will allow for commercial air service to continue in McCook," said McCook Public Works Director Kyle Potthoff Wednesday...
City raises idea of county-wide animal enforcement (04/20/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Animal complaints, ranging from stray skunks, turkeys and barking dogs, often keep McCook police officers from working on higher priority items and city officials think a joint-effort with Red Willow County might be the solution. City leaders are looking into the idea of a county-wide animal control officer and plan to have a proposal put together this fall...
City driveway project underway (04/19/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A paving project near Smoker's Outlet is underway and city leaders hope to have it completed within the next couple weeks. Public Works Director Kyle Potthoff said last week weather would be the determining factor on when the project was finished...
Crimes decline for 2015 (04/19/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Crime continues to decline in McCook as 2015 represented the second consecutive year with a 2 percent overall decrease to the crime rate, according to law enforcement officials. Police calls, damage due to vandalism and even accident reports declined for the year, prompting Chief of Police Isaac Brown to praise citizens and law enforcement officials alike during Monday's meeting of the McCook City Council...
City tree rebate program underway (04/19/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook Tree Rebate Program is now offering rebates for the 2016 spring season. Tp be eligible for the program trees must be purchased between March 28 and June 10, 2016. Rebate requests must be received by June 24 and only trees planted on property within McCook city limits qualify...
McCook's new claim to fame? It's an injection well; not used for fracking (04/18/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook is the only municipality in the state of Nebraska that owns an injection well and it has nothing to do with fracking, at least according to one city official. "I always get asked, 'is that part of the fracking?'," said Utilities Director Jesse Dutcher with a chuckle during a McCook City Council meeting earlier this month...
City equipment purchase below budget (04/15/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook will likely spend less than anticipated on a new hydro excavator for the water department. City department heads opened sealed bids for the equipment purchase earlier this week and are seeking approval to proceed with a $85,422 purchase, a savings of more than $27,000 from the $113,000 originally budgeted...
Arsenic, uranium still present at allowable levels (04/14/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The McCook water treatment plant recently celebrated its ninth consecutive year without a drinking water standard violation, however, there are contaminants in the city water residents should be aware of. Two regulated contaminants with a health risk at any level, arsenic and uranium mass, are present in McCook's water system at levels close to the highest level allowed, according to the Annual Water Quality Report released last week. ...
Water plant nears 10th year online (04/14/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook's ion-exchange water treatment plant is approaching 10 years without a violation after recording another blemish-free year in 2015. City leaders released the annual water quality report recently and touted it as the ninth consecutive year without a drinking water standard violation. The plant was brought online in early 2006...
Boosters seek more funding for ballparks (04/11/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook significantly increased funds budgeted for local baseball and softball parks during last fall's budget process and enthusiasts for the diamond sports are calling for more. The City of McCook Ball Parks department was budgeted for $100,662 in expenditures in the 2015-16 budget, a 4.7 percent increase over prior year. The increases were in addition to the creation of a $60,000 ballpark reserve account which Mayor Mike Gonzales initially proposed at $100,000...
City talks annexation (04/05/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City officials received an introduction to the annexation process Monday evening including best practices, legal requirements and a synopsis of three communities recently completing the process. Professional planners Craig Bennett and Brenda Jensen of Miller and Associates presented the information. ...
Annexation on City Council agenda (04/01/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City leaders will receive an introduction to the annexation process next week after postponing the discussion previously. They hope it serves as a starting point in achieving a long-standing goal, growing McCook. Professional planners Craig Bennett and Brenda Jensen of Miller and Associates will present information relating to the annexation process, including a review of state law, during Monday's meeting of the McCook City Council...
Fire department honors volunteers (03/30/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook Fire Department coordinated a volunteer recognition banquet recently and hope the event serves as the beginning of a long-standing annual tradition. City employees are recognized annually for years of service and given the critical role volunteers play in the day-to-day operations of the fire department, and the significant number of service years they represent. ...
Cops may get tuition break (03/28/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Nebraska law enforcement officers will likely receive a break on college tuition costs in the near future. The change comes from a bill presented to the Governor Thursday which passed on final reading with a 46-0-3 vote. The bill, LB 906, allows Nebraska law enforcement officers in good standing with their agency to receive a 30 percent tuition waiver to any university, state or community college in Nebraska...
TIF advances; tough City Council decision (03/22/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City Council chambers were packed Monday evening with supporters and opposition alike towards a redevelopment project planing to construct a Holiday Inn Express on U.S. Highway 83. Representatives from existing business argued against the project prior to City Council approving the issuance of a revenue bond stemming from Tax Increment Financing. Council members acknowledged the decision had not come easy and ultimately split the deciding vote on a 4-1 approval...
Motel owners oppose new competition (03/18/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- McCook lodging officials are speaking out against the city granting Tax Increment Financing assistance to a second hotel development which hopes to break ground in the coming months. City leaders will hear the concerns Monday evening while considering whether to approve the redevelopment plan for a Holiday Inn & Suites to be built on U.S. Highway 83...
Fourteen businesses launched at Keystone Business Center (03/14/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Six years ago, the historic Keystone Hotel sat empty on a main corner of downtown McCook. Today, through the work of the McCook Economic Development Corporation, that hotel has become the thriving Keystone Business Center and has helped launch 14 new businesses that are now providing jobs and services to Red Willow County and beyond...
Director's last day Friday; MEDC hopes to have replacement by May (03/11/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Community leaders are looking for someone to fill the shoes of departing McCook Economic Development Corp. executive director Rex Nelson and hope to have someone in place prior to the upcoming Primary Election. Nelson indicated during Monday's City Council meeting Friday would be his last day and MEDC board members visiting with citizens the following day said they believed his replacement would be in place prior to the Primary Election this May...
City receives more than $10K from ACE (03/11/16)
COOK, Neb. -- Revenue received by the City of McCook from the ACE natural gas selection program spiked to more than $10,000 this year, prompting city leaders to express their gratitude and encourage more residents to participate. City Council was presented a check for $10,879 Monday evening, representing their annual contribution from the program. The city received just shy of $8,000 from the program last spring...
City landscaping efforts recognized by Nebraska Statewide Arboretum (03/10/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Beautification efforts in McCook were recognized at the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum Awards Reception earlier this month in Lincoln. The city received the Community Landscape Award for "landscape projects that significantly improved their community." The recognition stemmed from improvements made at the intersection of Norris Avenue and U.S. Highway 34...
Police: Lock cars, keep pets secure, rabies shots up to date (03/09/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City police officers are encouraging residents to ensure parked vehicles are locked and pets are secure as warmer temperatures bring on an increase in the amount of outdoor activity around town. McCook Sr. Sgt. Kevin Darling said Tuesday the police department was seeing an uptick in reports involving thieves shopping city streets for unlocked vehicles. ...
City honored for improved green infrastructure (03/08/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook was honored last week with an award for significantly improving the community's green infrastructure. The Nebraska Statewide Arboretum Community Landscape Award was presented to city leaders during a reception in Lincoln Friday afternoon. The recognition stems from improvements implemented to U.S. Highway 6 and 34 at the intersection of Norris Avenue and B Street...
Fire chief: Cardiac arrests increasing, victims younger (03/08/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Area emergency responders are concerned about an uptick in the number of cardiac arrest patients transported this year, as well as how young those patients have been. The City of McCook Fire Department typically receives between 10 to 15 cardiac arrest calls a year. Through the first week in March they have already received 12 cardiac arrest calls this year, according to a report given to City Council Monday evening...
Boardings up for first two months of 2016 (03/07/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The McCook airport boarded more commercial airline passengers in the first two months of this year than it did during the entire first quarter last year, representing what could be the first hints of a positive trend in several years...
MEDC: LB840 makes McCook housing projects possible (03/04/16)
MCCOOK - It's no secret that opportunities exist to fill a need for affordable, quality housing in McCook. Since a 2013 housing study confirmed what most residents already knew about the shortage, the McCook Economic Development Corporation has taken several steps to start providing solutions, including initiating the recently completed Clary Village and the upcoming Quillan Courts and providing financial infrastructure support for the North Pointe development...
Development plan on agenda (03/04/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City leaders will present an amended version of the McCook Economic Development Plan to City Council next week as they prepare a second renewal effort in the coming months. Voters turned down renewal of the economic development plan last May and it is set to expire in 2018. City staff indicated at the time the rejection left room for one more renewal effort prior to expiration...
Local libraries share in state grants (03/04/16)
LINCOLN, Neb. -- The Nebraska Library Commission recently awarded Library Improvement Grants for 2016 totaling $58,983 to McCook, Beaver City and 11 other Nebraska public libraries, and a state-run institutional library. These competitive grants were funded with federal Library Services and Technology Act monies from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. ...
Jaycees ballpark meeting set for Tuesday (03/02/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook is coordinating a meeting for those planning on using the Jaycees Ball Complex or Felling Field this year. The meeting is scheduled on Tuesday, March 8, at 6 p.m. at the McCook Municipal Facility upstairs training room...
Officials hope smooth flight ahead for airport (03/02/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Managing the McCook airport has likely been a taxing endeavor for city leaders in recent years, although new developments indicate it may be taking a turn for the better. City leaders advanced plans earlier this month to construct a new hangar at McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport and a new airline is set to take the commercial air service reigns this summer. ...
Noon meeting Monday on liquor license (02/26/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The McCook City Council is coordinating a special meeting at noon on Monday to consider an application for a special liquor license from Schmick's Market. The local grocer intends to serve alcohol at Kiplinger Arena from 4 p.m. to midnight during a rodeo on March 18...
Lodging inventory growing 54% (02/26/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Hotel developers are advancing plans to invest more than $13 million in McCook in the coming months. The new construction will result in an unprecedented increase in Red Willow County's lodging capacity occurring in just a matter of months...
New airline OK'd, early takeover unlikely (02/25/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Boutique Air has been approved to provide air service at McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport beginning this summer. The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the selection Wednesday, which aligns with a recommendation forwarded from the McCook City Council in December. Boutique will provide 12 nonstop round trip flights per week to Denver International Airport using 8- or 9-seat Pilatus PC-12 aircraft, according to the announcement...
Street department plans million-dollar year (02/24/16)
MCCOOK, Neb. -- City street improvement funds were limited to standard maintenance this past year but the McCook street department is gearing up to invest more than a $1 million on repaving and roadway improving projects in the coming months. Following a public hearing earlier this month, the McCook City Council unanimously approved the 2016 One and Six Year Street Improvement Plan. ...
Competing hotels express concerns over new hotel (02/24/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook is on the verge of experiencing unprecedented lodging growth but not everyone is rejoicing. Representatives from several McCook area hotels and motels presented concerns to City Council last week during a public hearing to discuss the redevelopment plan for a new Holiday Inn...
Jobs, housing, growth top MEDC survey results (02/16/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Respondents to a recent McCook area survey said that attracting new residents and jobs and creating affordable housing options are important to a vibrant future for southwest Nebraska. The survey, conducted by the McCook Economic Development Corp., generated 173 responses and continued the conversation about needs and opportunities that are important to McCook and Red Willow County residents...
Incumbent filing deadline Tuesday (02/15/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The filing deadline for public office incumbents seeking reelection on the May ballot is close of business tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 16. Non-incumbents have until March 1. The 2016 Nebraska statewide Primary Election Day is May 10 and the General Election Day is Nov. 8...
Holiday Inn plan to City Council (02/12/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The redevelopment plan for construction of a $8.8 million 3-story hotel in McCook will be presented to City Council Monday evening for approval. The Holiday Inn and Suites project is targeting development of the corner of U.S. Highway 83 and West H Street...
Do TIF projects decrease state aid? (02/12/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Nebraska communities aggressively using Tax Increment Financing to encourage economic development usually end up with significant chunks of property tax receipts committed to a project for more than a decade. The situation may also be skewing the TEEOSA formula used to determine state aid to schools and at least one state legislator is calling foul...
Sidewalk snow enforcement set to begin Friday (02/11/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City police officers backed-off enforcement of sidewalk snow removal following last week's unprecedented snowfall. The police department sent notice earlier this week indicating it was time to ensure walkways are cleared again. The McCook Police Department issued a reminder Wednesday afternoon and said it continues to receive complaints of residents who have not scooped the snow from their sidewalks and will begin enforcement actions at 8 a.m., Friday morning. ...
Omaha firm wins bid for firefighter gear (02/05/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City leaders awarded a bid for new firefighter bunker gear to Omaha-based Fireguard earlier this week. The $37,849 purchase will provide the city fire department with 20 new sets of protective equipment, as well as access to a protected website database service to track history and use...
Housing development on track (02/04/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A private housing development north of the fairgrounds is ahead of schedule and drew praise from economic development officials recently. The North Pointe Properties housing development on R Street has long-term plans for 27 residential units and it was announced in June the first six lots were ready for construction...
Winter storm delays annexation presentation (02/01/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- An introduction to the annexation process scheduled during tonight's meeting of the McCook City Council has been postponed until a later date due to weather. Red Willow County is predicted to get a foot of snow with wind gusts of 40 mph...
City eye annexation for growth (01/29/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City leaders will receive an introduction to the annexation process next week and hope it serves as a starting point in achieving a goal they have been discussing for years, growing McCook. Professional planners Craig Bennett and Brenda Jensen of Miller and Associates will present information relating to the annexation process, including a review of state law, during Monday's meeting of the McCook City Council...
MEDC seeks voter approval for funding (01/25/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Local economic development officials and business leaders are gearing up for what they believe will be a critical primary election this year and one that will have a significant impact on the future of McCook. McCook Economic Development Corp. Executive Board President Jim Ulrich said voters will have the power to either help McCook and the surrounding area expand with a "yes" vote or to start on a decline with a "no" vote...
City eyes additional site for keno (01/22/16)
BRUCE BAKER City Editor McCOOK, Neb. -- McCook residents play more keno than any other community in the state on a per-capita basis, at least according to one official. City leaders hope a third outlet will increase city revenue from the game even more...
Changes in store for MEDC (01/21/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City leaders gave final approval to a planned development district for the Quillan Courts housing project earlier this week. The move brings the McCook Economic Development Corp. closer to increasing its property management responsibilities while the search for a new director continues...
Police forced to shoot troublesome turkeys (01/20/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Two wild turkeys that ambled through McCook during the month of November have been euthanized. The turkeys were sighted in various parts of the city, including the downtown area, Norris Avenue and in various neighborhoods. According to McCook Police Chief Ike Brown, city police had tried to several times to catch the turkeys so they could be released into rural areas, to no avail...
Annual audit gives McCook financial kudos (01/19/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- McCook is an awfully good place to live, at least according to the accounting firm tasked with the annual review of city financial statements and account balances. Terry Galloway with accounting firm Almquist, Maltzahn, Galloway & Luth praised the city's financial performance earlier this week and indicated fiscal prudence on the part of the city was resulting in a tax savings for residents...
More keno, more money? (01/15/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City leaders hope increasing the number of keno operations in town will bring more money into city coffers. The McCook City Council will consider a resolution Monday evening approving TJ's Family Fun Center to become the third location offering the game of chance within city limits. ...
Double-digit decrease in passengers at Ben Nelson Regional Airport (01/07/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Commercial air service continues to decline at McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport and may not see improvements until this summer at the earliest. Boarded passengers were down 17 percent in 2015 after a disastrous 2014 which posted a 79 percent decrease, according to enplanement reports from the city...
Housing plan passes second reading (01/05/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A planned development district for a housing project advanced recently and put it on pace to become the newest entity managed by the sales tax reliant McCook Economic Development Corp. The Final Planned Development District for Quillan Courts was unanimously approved by the McCook City Council on its second of three required readings Monday evening. ...
Not so Merry Christmas for car, arrestee with missing glasses (01/04/16)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A pair of unrelated claims for damages have been filed against the City of McCook after a Christmas decoration was blown from a light post and an arrested man was unable to find his eyeglasses. The McCook City Council will receive and file both claims tonight during a regularly scheduled meeting, 6:30 p.m., at city offices...
Neighbor repeats concerns at hearing; plan advances (12/31/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Despite a neighbors claim of threats and drainage issues the McCook City Council unanimously voted to clear the way for a housing development to proceed recently. The man, Craig Christner of McCook, owns vacant property in the North Pointe Properties development and lives in a home bordering the development to the north. ...
Grants help purchase new mobile radar equipment (12/30/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The McCook Police Department was awarded grant funding recently to assist with the purchase of two mobile radar units. The Nebraska Office of Highway Safety announced earlier this month it would be awarding $1,800 towards the equipment purchase and to help prevent traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities at various locations throughout the area. ...
Churches, volunteer groups help clean up properties (12/29/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A city-led group working in McCook for nearly a decade to facilitate the removal or renovation of local nuisance properties is finding continued success through partnerships with local churches and volunteer groups. Like any other local initiative, funding is often the biggest hurdle for needed demolition projects and the Problem Resolution Team has found that fostering partnerships with local organizations allows its work to continue when funds are unavailable, according to a report provided to the McCook City Council last week.. ...
Program set to fill gap in healthcare (12/24/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A relatively new concept which enlists paramedics to make basic healthcare house calls on residents is coming to McCook after receiving support from city leaders earlier this week. "Community Paramedicine" started gaining traction about five years ago in rural parts of Minnesota and Colorado, according to McCook Fire Chief Marc Harpham. "Areas where folks really can't get out to go see a doctor when they're ill," he said during Monday's regularly scheduled City Council meeting...
Well drilling business moving to new home after decades in current spot (12/23/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A commercial well service business operating south of McCook since the 1930s is moving to a new home just north of town. Richard and Lisa Wilcox with Wilcox Well Drilling were granted a special exception Monday evening allowing their business to operate in an agricultural district north of McCook. City staff indicated the request wasn't unusual and the only questions remaining pertained to highway visibility and whether ingress or egress issues existed...
Council OKs zoning change for crematorium (12/23/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City leaders approved a zoning ordinance modification earlier this week after receiving assurances a new crematorium on West C Street wouldn't have a negative impact on the neighborhood. "There was a question at one point in time, as far as whether or not, there could be some particulates. ...
Downtown investment advances (12/22/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Downtown McCook is slated for more than $450,000 in improvements to be completed within the next five months. The project will primarily be funded by a $350,000 Community Development Block Grant and is estimated to cost the city $126,544 in local funds, according to the engineering firm responsible for design work...
Downtown improvement on city agenda (12/18/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Downtown McCook should have some fresh new attractions by next spring according to a construction bid slated for City Council approval next week. A city parking lot located at the intersection of East First Street and East D Street will be resurfaced and receive landscaping improvements, as well as having a new metal canopy installed, ideal for farmer's market-type events. ...
Unattended wood stove blamed for garage fire (12/17/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A wood burning stove is suspected of causing a garage fire Wednesday evening which resulted in an estimated $35,000 in property damage. The City of McCook Fire Department was on the scene within two minutes after receiving a report of a fire behind the house at 1006 East B Street at just past 4 p.m. in the afternoon. A three stall garage at the residence had smoke exiting the back side and coming from the eaves, according to the fire department...
Libraries accredited for three more years (12/15/15)
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska Library Commission Library Development Director Richard Miller recently announced the accreditation of a number of Southwest Nebraska public libraries and many others across the state. "We are dedicated to helping Nebraska libraries meet Nebraskans' information needs, opening up the world of information for citizens of all ages," he said...
City studies annexation (12/14/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City leaders are looking at hiring a consultant in the near future to provide training on the statutory responsibilities of City Council, as well as what it would entail to annex property into city limits. Both items will likely be brought before City Council for formal consideration within the next three months, according to City Manager Nate Schneider...
Naming process the same (12/10/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The process to rename city property in honor of someone remains the same today as it was in 2009, beginning and ending with City Council, according to city staff. A Gazette report earlier this week questioned whether the process to rename the McCook airport differed today when compared to a 2009 effort, which successfully lobbied to honor former Sen. ...
Council chooses Boutique (12/08/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- If all goes as expected, Boutique Air will be the next commercial air service provider at McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport, although when the airline takes over is still an unknown. The McCook City Council unanimously supported recommending Boutique Air receive the Essential Air Service contract during its regularly scheduled meeting Monday evening. ...
Airport renaming issue to City Council (12/07/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A member of the Airport Advisory Commission was advised to direct individuals with interest in renaming McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport to the McCook City Council after raising the topic during a meeting earlier this year. Commissioner Doug Vap reported "a concerned party approached him regarding renaming the McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport," according to minutes from a May meeting approved last week. ...
Plans advance for new, smaller hangar (12/03/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Design plans for construction of a new 8-plex airplane hangar at McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport were modified recently, downsizing the structure to a 6-plex hangar. The original layout called for placement of the building too close to an existing runway, according to an update provided Monday to the Airport Advisory Commission by Greg Wolford with W Design Associates. ...
Airport advisory board prefers Boutique (12/01/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City leaders hope a new airline can reverse the decreasing trend in commercial passenger counts facing McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport in recent years. The Airport Advisory Commission unanimously supported awarding the bid for essential air service at McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport to Boutique Air, Monday afternoon, after reviewing proposals from three airlines...
Three airlines bid on McCook service (11/25/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Three airlines are vying for essential air service at McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport beginning in 2016. The Airport Advisory Board is scheduled to meet Monday to review proposals received from Boutique Air, Aerodynamics Inc. and Great Lakes Aviation, the first step in forming the board's recommendation to City Council...
Clary Village filling up, taking applications (11/24/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Four of the eight duplex units planned for the construction as part of the Clary Village senior housing development are completed and tenants are already moving in. The four duplexes provide eight residential units and have welcomed five tenants in recent months, with applications being processed for the other three, according to McCook Economic Development Corp. Director Rex Nelson...
St. Catherine's owner cited for unsafe building (11/23/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Officials appear concerned about foot traffic at the former St. Catherine's apartment building and have cited the property owner for maintaining an unsafe building. Property owner Bev Smith was cited last month, the same week a Gazette article ran touting the Smith's renovation plans for the former hospital building turned apartment complex...
Driveways, RVs topic for City Council (11/20/15)
CHAMPION, Neb. -- The Champion, Nebraska, Community Center and Champion Jr. Women's Club present the 11th annual "Vision of Trees," Saturday, Dec. 5, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. MT, and Sunday, Dec. 6, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. MT at the Champion Community Center...
Zoning stalls funeral home expansion (11/19/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A McCook funeral home eyeing expansion recently encountered a roadblock stemming from broad-based changes made to McCook's zoning ordinance in 2013. City Council approved a modification Monday evening intended to rectify the situation, after city staff described it as an unintended consequence of previous changes...
Storage facility advances (11/17/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The sale of an approximate five acre section of land targeted as the new home for a steel building to be used for vehicle and boat storage advanced Monday evening. The McCook City Council unanimously approved a special exception to allow the construction project in an agriculture district...
Norris Institute selling land for storage shed (11/16/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The Norris Institute is working towards selling an approximate five acre section of native grass land to make way for a new storage building. The McCook City Council will coordinate a public hearing Monday evening to consider approval of a special exception authorizing construction of the building in an agricultural zoned district. ...
Passenger jets on way to McCook? (11/12/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A commercial airline with a stellar safety record and a preference for jet aircraft is eyeing a bid to provide essential air service at the McCook airport. Aerodynamics Incorporated of Atlanta, Georgia, was granted an extension from the Department of Transportation last week stretching the deadline to submit EAS proposals to Monday, Nov. ...
City reaches compromise with feedlot (11/06/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City Council approved an agreement with a local cattle operation earlier this week allowing for up to 950 head of cattle to be kept just outside of city limits. The agreement was seen as a best case scenario for the city given the nearly two decades the "backgrounding lot" has been in operation...
Sales tax helps brighten up businesses (11/05/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Several McCook businesses are sporting a new store front, with a host of others slated for similar renovation projects, and construction is already underway on McCook's latest senior housing project, all thanks to local-option sales tax funds...
Emergency responders get help from Helmsley Trust (11/04/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Emergency responders, like anyone else, tire quickly when performing CPR but thanks to a well-known charitable trust new technology is already saving lives during cardiac arrest transports in Nebraska. State officials announced in April Nebraska received nearly $6 million from the Leona M. ...
City OKs land, paving swap (11/03/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City leaders committed to a $15,000 paving project Monday evening in exchange for a privately-owned piece of vacant property blocking the continuation of West 7th Street. The City Council approved swap is anticipated to benefit three housing developments underway in the neighborhood, North Pointe Properties, Clary Village and Quillan Courts...
St. Catherine's renovation underway (10/30/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The St. Catherine's Apartments building may not be ready for tenants any time soon but an outbuilding on the property could be welcoming its first resident in the coming weeks. Property owner John Smith of McCook said he hopes to have three rental units in the smaller building to the west of the former hospital ready for tenants in a month-and-a-half...
City ponders paving project in exchange for property (10/30/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The city is looking to swap a $15,000 paving project for a privately owned lot adjacent to West Seventh Street. The approximate 81 foot by 66 foot vacant lot is owned by John and Betty Nothnagel of McCook and would allow the city to intersect R Street with the west side of West 7th Street. ...
Skatepark brings new venue, rules (10/28/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Southwest Nebraska skateboard and bicycle enthusiasts cheered the opening of the Bolles Canyon Skatepark last week in McCook. The latest addition to the city's recreational portfolio brought a slew of new activities, as well as few new rules...
Late-night 'car shopper' reported (10/22/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The McCook Police Department received a report of a suspicious man who appeared to be shopping for unlocked vehicles during the early morning hours Wednesday. The report indicated an elderly man dressed in black and carrying a Walmart sack was spotted at approximately 1 a.m. browsing cars on the 1400 block of West 10th Street...
New dealership seeks variance for sign (10/22/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A used car dealership in McCook has changed hands and the new owner is asking for a zoning variance to construct a sign within a required setback area. Cappel Motors is located at 109 West 8th Street, the former home of McCorkle Motors just behind the Taco John's restaurant on West B Street. Owner Bill Cappel is asking the Board of Zoning Adjustment to approve construction of a new sign on the property line with Taco John's, within a required 15 foot setback...
Officer fends off dog with taser (10/22/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A local pet responded aggressively to the arrival of ambulance and police personnel at his home last week and was hit by a Taser in an effort to subdue it without killing it. Paramedics coming to the aid of the dog's owner arrived at the East Fairacres residence and were charged by the dog, believed to be a boxer mix, shortly after exiting their ambulance. ...
Industrial park paving project begins (10/21/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Paving of the main access road for an industrial park behind Valmont is underway and economic development officials hope the project makes business recruitment easier. McCook Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Rex Nelson indicated Tuesday he was excited to see the paving project underway and hoped it stimulated activity at the McCook Industrial Park...
Bolles Canyon Skatepark opens (10/19/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The Bolles Canyon Skatepark officially opened Friday evening in McCook and quickly became a bustling hub for skateboarding and bicycling activity. More than a 100 supporters turned out for the ribbon cutting ceremony and to be among the first to maneuver the various mini ramps and in-ground bowl feature at the park...
Airport FBO seeks more paved loading space (10/16/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Red Willow Aviation is requesting additional space from the city at McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport. Representatives from the airport's fixed base operator are asking to rent an additional 76 foot by 63 foot concrete slab and expand the slab to 90 foot by 75 foot at their own expense. The additional space will be used for loading purposes, according to city staff...
Residents tapped for pool study group (10/13/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City leaders recently organized a group of residents to help determine the future of the city swimming pool, as well as how to pay for upgrades to what some see as McCook's most underfunded department for many years. Mayor Mike Gonzales appointed 13 people to the new Swimming Pool Committee during last week's meeting of the McCook City Council. ...
Hearing Monday for new housing development plan (10/09/15)
McCOOK, Neb.-- As two McCook housing developments north of the fairgrounds near completion a third has sprung up in the same neighborhood and plans to begin construction next year. The McCook Planning Commission will coordinate a public hearing Monday evening to discuss the redevelopment plan for the latest housing endeavor, dubbed Quillan Courts...
Councilman calls for better sidewalk patrol (10/07/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Complaint-based enforcement of city ordinance is bad government, according to one member of the McCook City Council who successfully lobbied to change policy earlier this week. City Councilman Jerry Calvin received unanimous support Monday evening to remove language from the City of McCook snow removal policy which stated, "Citation for violations will be handled on a complaint basis."...
City mulls expanded use of GIS (10/06/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook is looking into software which could help modernize inventory and location records on everything from street signs to utility lines. The software, GIS Workshop, is already used by the Red Willow County assessor's office on its property search website...
City mulls expanded use of GIS (10/06/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook is looking into software which could help modernize inventory and location records on everything from street signs to utility lines. The software, GIS Workshop, is already used by the Red Willow County assessor's office on its property search website...
City police, union set new pay schedule (10/05/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The McCook Police Department is transitioning to a new pay schedule which the city hopes will help with officer retention. The new format transitions from the previous grid schedule to what city officials describe as a step schedule, which lays out a roadmap of sorts for officer advancement opportunities. The new stepped schedule allows officers to reach maximum pay sooner than the previous format...
Property sale on city agenda (10/02/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook is eyeing a potential real estate purchase and will coordinate an executive session next week with City Council for closed door discussions. The session is being coordinated "for the protection of public interest for a strategy session with respect to a potential real estate purchase," according to Monday's meeting agenda...
McCook seeks air service proposals (10/01/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The McCook airport has begun the process of renewing its Essential Air Service contract and city staff hopes a new contract is also the first step in renewing confidence in local air travel. During last week's McCook City Council meeting, City Manager Nate Schneider said the city received notice from the Department of Transportation recently indicating it was time to begin requesting proposals for Essential Air Service at the airport. ...
City sells partial lots, open to selling more (09/30/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A 2013 community analysis of McCook determined the city had an excessive amount of public land and at the same time fell short of the national average when it came to acreage devoted to residential neighborhoods. The McCook City Council has since sold several vacant lots or portions of lots to individuals and approved the most recent transaction last week...
Great Lakes defaults on loan (09/29/15)
CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- The commercial air service provider at McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport recently defaulted on a $27.5 million loan, according to multiple news reports citing documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Great Lakes Aviation of Cheyenne, Wyoming, could be forced to turn over nearly all of its assets as a result of the default, according to one report by KGWN Newschannel 5 in Cheyenne. ...
City sewer fund strong following influx of sales tax revenue (09/23/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The city sewer fund is just a few years removed from analysts calling for sizable annual rate increases but now looks to be financially stable, with no rate increase expected for years to come. In 2008, the McCook City Council considered a 7.5 percent residential sewer rate increase before allocating the use of $150,000 in local-option sales tax funds to minimize the hike. ...
City hires new building inspector (09/22/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook will welcome a new building inspector in the coming week and city leaders expressed their excitement with the new hire Monday evening. Barry Mooney accepted the position and brings nine years of experience as the building inspector in Russell, Kansas, according to City Manager Nate Schneider...
City seeks cost cuts in hangar project (09/21/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Construction of a new hangar at McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport has been delayed but hasn't been abandoned by city leaders. The city planned to construct a new 8-plex hangar and utilize a $600,000 FAA grant, with a 10 percent match requirement, to cover the vast majority of the expense. ...
No city water, sewer increases expected (09/18/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City water and sewer rates appear to have avoided an increase in the coming year, at least according to the recommendation from the annual cashflow analysis. The analysis focuses on city water and sewer enterprise funds and is used to determine the financial health of both funds, as well as provide a roadmap for potential rate increases and their impact. ...
City mulls sale of small park (09/16/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- McCook has a lot of great parks but one of them may be overdue for some attention. Southwest Nebraska's "Go-To City" is home to one of the state's most popular disc golf courses at Kelley Park, and Karrer Park is widely known as a great stop for free camping and showers...
Skatepark construction underway (09/10/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Construction began on a new skatepark near Bolles Canyon in Kelley Park earlier this week. Contractors with Dreamland Skateparks began excavation at the skatepark site Wednesday morning and said they anticipate completion in 6-7 weeks...
Council OKs new budget (09/09/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Ongoing negotiations with police and firefighters didn't prevent the McCook City Council from passing an annual budget Tuesday night. While details remain to be settled on union contracts that expire at the end of the month, numbers were firm enough that the 2015-16 budget could be passed on third and final reading...
Final city budget hinges on negotiations (09/04/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Ongoing negotiations between city leaders and police and fire department union representatives have kept the upcoming annual pay increase for city employees something of an uncertainty this budget cycle. Unlike previous years when anticipated cost of living adjustments and wage increases were announced on the first reading of the budget and modified sparingly during subsequent readings, negotiations are still ongoing with police and fire union representatives and even the city manager's proposed pay increase will be an unknown until presented to City Council Tuesday evening.. ...
Another low year for air passengers? (09/02/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The number of commercial passengers boarded at the McCook airport dipped to an all-time monthly low last year when only two passengers were boarded for the month of March. The inactivity prompted a Gazette headline at the time claiming passenger numbers had "No way to go but up." A review of 2015 passenger counts raises concerns the optimistic headline may have been wrong...
Groundbreaking set for one hotel, another eyes property (09/01/15)
BRUCE BAKER City Editor McCOOK, Neb. -- City leaders indicated earlier this year at least three competing hotel developments were eyeing McCook and one of them is set to break ground in the coming weeks. Construction of a $3.5 million Cobblestone Hotel on the northeast corner of the intersection of U.S. Highway 83 and N Street is approximately 45 days from getting underway, according to Jeremy Griesbach with BriMark Builders...
City budget: Property tax receipts up, sales tax down (08/25/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook is projecting property tax revenue to increase by more than $40,000 in the coming budget year, while sales tax revenue is budgeted for its first decrease in several years. The city plans to maintain the same property tax levy of $0.319044 and the increase in General Fund property tax revenue is predicted to come from higher valuations. ...
City ponders internal loan to buy equipment (08/24/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The 2015-16 proposed City of McCook budget includes just shy of $200,000 in equipment expenditures and city leaders are looking to double that amount and take out a loan to cover the expense. "We've got a lot of equipment thats undergone a lot of repair here recently. ...
Walkway designing underway (08/21/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Design work is underway for a city maintained walkway between the former McCook Glass and Top Office Products buildings which could bring a vibrant new look to the Norris Avenue area. City Manager Nate Schneider said Monday he anticipated having something to present to City Council during the next couple meetings. City Council subsequently approved an easement agreement between the city and Jay and Kim Schilling during its regularly scheduled meeting...
Committee: MEDC on right track (08/20/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The McCook Economic Development Corp. is investing in the right areas and doing its part to combat the local housing shortage, at least according to the Citizens Advisory Review Committee. The committee meets on a quarterly basis with MEDC officials and is tasked with reviewing the functioning and progress of the economic development program and to advise the City Council with regard to the program. ...
Pool improvements on the horizon? (08/19/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The McCook swimming pool appears to have fallen behind several other communities in the region and at least one local resident hopes to change that. Jody Crocker of McCook, like most city department heads, shoulders several responsibilities for the city. Her duties include the director position at the public library as well as manager of the city swimming pool in the summer...
City to study convention center needs, facilities (08/18/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City leaders plan to take a closer look at local convention and civic center needs and whether or not Memorial Auditorium fits into those plans. The city is funding a feasibility study with the assistance of the McCook Community Foundation intended to determine if Memorial Auditorium could be modified to serve as a convention/meeting facility, or another use, and if a new convention/meeting facility would be possible...
'Orphan Train' speaker here Aug. 26 (08/18/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Humanities Nebraska speaker Charlotte Endorf will present "Excess Baggage: Riding The Orphan Train," on Wednesday, Aug. 26 at 12:30 p.m. at Heritage Senior Center, 1312 West 5th St McCook. This program is made possible by Humanities Nebraska, the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, and First Central Bank McCook as part of the Humanities Nebraska Speakers Bureau...
Downtown improvements making progress (08/14/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City leaders are seeking approval for an easement agreement which would advance a downtown revitalization plan in the works for several years. The McCook City Council will consider approving the agreement with Jay and Kim Schilling Monday evening during its regularly scheduled meeting, 6:30 p.m., at the Municipal Center...
Healthcare, education driving local job growth (08/07/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A 10-year study of employment in Red Willow County and the surrounding areas indicates the majority of non-farm related jobs added were in the education and health services sector. Stan Clouse with the Nebraska Public Power District recapped the data to the McCook City Council Monday evening. ...
Skatepark bid awarded (08/06/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The construction bid for a new McCook skatepark was awarded Monday and similar to previous steps in the process seemed to draw resistance from several City Council members. Councilman Gene Weedin pulled the bid item from the consent agenda to inquire about a $5,000 option calling for colored concrete to be used on the project. ...
Manager: Accounting, safety, turnover affect city budget (08/05/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook expects expenses to grow by more than half a million dollars in the coming budget year. The 2015-16 fiscal budget approved on first reading Monday includes a $563,446 increase to general fund expenditures when compared to last year...
Accounting, safety, turnover affect city budget (08/05/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook expects expenses to grow by more than half a million dollars in the coming budget year. The 2015-16 fiscal budget approved on first reading Monday includes a $563,446 increase to general fund expenditures when compared to last year...
Budget OK'd on first reading; changes likely (08/04/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook budget received first round approval Monday although several critical items are still up in the air. The city-wide employee wage increase has yet to be finalized and water and sewer rate increases are still an unknown, in addition to the increasingly popular practice of waiting until the final reading to announce allocations for uncommitted community betterment and sales tax funds...
Water repairs Tuesday (08/03/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City crews will close West Fifth between west K and West L from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. Tuesday so a water lain can be repaired. "Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause," said the release. "We appreciate your cooperation."
National standards spark fire equipment purchases (08/03/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A recent change to the national standard for fire protection gear is estimated to cost the McCook Fire Department $42,000 in the coming budget. "We have 21 sets of bunker gear that will be no-good come October first," said Fire Chief Marc Harpham during a budget review meeting last week. A brand-new set of bunker gear is estimated to cost $2,000...
Humane Society asks for animal control officer (07/31/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The McCook Humane Society is asking city officials to hire an animal control officer and consider implementing a fee system to cover expenses. "It is something I really, really, think we need," said Humane Society Director Lorie Prestes during the 2015-16 fiscal-year budget review meeting earlier this week. Prestes said the idea had been looked at in the past and she believed a minimal-fee system could be developed to cover expenses...
First budget reading on agenda Monday (07/31/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A public hearing is scheduled Monday evening to discuss the fiscal 2015-16 city budget before the McCook City Council considers first-round approval. The budget includes $32,926,683 in proposed expenditures, when combining General Fund, water and sewer enterprise funds, capital improvements, economic development and all other departments. The budgeted expenditures are a 3.53 percent increase from the $31,801,107 in the 2014-15 fiscal year budget...
Pool work linked to sales tax? (07/30/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City leaders may be banking on local desire to improve the McCook swimming pool as a means to increase the local-option sales tax. During a review of the proposed swimming pool budget Monday evening, City Councilman Gene Weedin mentioned several communities in the area had made upgrades or constructed new swimming pools or splash pads recently. City Manager Nate Schneider replied that at least one community had increased its local-option sales tax specifically for a pool project...
Street repairs begin Friday (07/29/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Figgins Construction will begin armor coating projects on several city streets Friday. Citizens residing in the affected neighborhoods are asked to remove all vehicles until after oil and gravel is applied and the street is reopened for use...
City budget meeting Monday (07/22/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook 2015-16 preliminary budget is scheduled to be available to the public this week and city leaders are asking citizens with input to attend next weeks' meeting. The city has scheduled a "Public Review Meeting" at 6:30 p.m. on Monday at the Municipal Center...
Winds of change for local air service? (07/17/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Commercial air service at McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport remains a fraction of what it once was and city leaders are set to take another hard look at options. McCook's contracted essential air service provider, Great Lakes Aviation, is fulfilling less than 35 percent of its contracted flights according to data provided to city staff. ...
No more door tags (07/10/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Customers who are behind on their city bills after Sept. 1 will get an automated phone call instead of finding a tag hanging on their door to warn of a pending disconnection, according to the McCook Utility Department. Customers with current contact information will receive the courtesy call, and those without current information will receive notice on the monthly utility bill only...
Refurb or build new? (07/07/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City leaders advanced a measure which they hope will provide insight into meeting the areas convention and civic center needs, Monday evening, while one resident asked them to take a hard look at a local building. The research stems from a hotel developer's offer to build a convention center which the City of McCook would later purchase and manage...
Fire Chief: No fireworks-related calls for second year (07/07/15)
McCOOK, Neb. --The City of McCook Fire Department was pleased to report a quiet Indenpendance Day, at least in regard to fireworks-related emergencies. The McCook Fire Department had no local reports and responded to one fireworks-related injury which originated outside of Red Willow County, an intercept call with a Culbertson ambulance on Saturday...
Air service struggles (06/19/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- While commercial air service at McCook's airport continues to struggle with passenger counts, a legislator voiced frustration with the government's role and advocate groups pushed for even stricter pilot requirements. McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport boarded 141 commercial passengers during the first five months of 2015, according to data provided by city staff. ...
Ballpark fans ask city for $100k (06/17/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A 2013 request for sales tax funds to expand a concession building at the Jaycees Complex returned to City Council Monday evening, with double the price tag. Jerry Reitz of McCook presented materials related to the project and asked City Council to allocate $100,000 in the 2015-16 budget. ...
Underground water sampling underway near park (06/16/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The McCook Parker Hannifin plant is installing an underground groundwater monitoring well on city property along the northern edge of Barnett Park. The McCook City Council approved an encroachment agreement Monday evening authorizing the installation and use of city property for a term of five years...
Council to conduct manager's annual evaluation (06/12/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Nate Schneider has been McCook city manager for a year already, and will be up for his annual evaluation Monday. The evaluation will be conducted in an executive session set for the end of the regular City Council meeting Monday, which begins at the new time of 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers, West Fifth and C...
Save energy during summertime heat (06/10/15)
After an unusually mild and wet spring -- McCook is .9 of an inch ahead of normal precip -- we've moved right into summer-type weather, hitting 96 degrees about 7 p.m. Tuesday. There are alternatives to sweating through the summer or eating peanut butter sandwiches to be able afford paying your electric bill, according to the Nebraska Public Power District...
City Council compiling budget priorities (06/02/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- If you think the city swimming pool could use a heater, perhaps a street sign on your block needs refreshing or maybe your ride home is just bumpier than it ought to be, whatever the focus, now is the time to speak up and let the McCook City Council know what is important to you...
Peddlers new and old seeking city permits (05/29/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Three local business entities have filed applications for one-year permits to operate as peddlers on public property within city limits. The trio includes new business startup "This and That Food Truck and Catering" owned by Brian Wiemers, long-time snack truck operator Bill Donze, also known as "Mr. Bill," and the McCook Area Chamber of Commerce...
McCook city surplus auction set for Friday (05/27/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook is coordinating its annual city surplus and police auction Friday afternoon at the police impound yard. The auction will begin at 1 p.m. and includes a significant number of surplus items and equipment, including 15 vehicles impounded by the police department and two former U.S. Government vehicles...
Animal rights group targets Beaver City dog breeder (05/26/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Southwest Nebraska is again drawing attention as being home to one of the worst dog breeding facilities in the nation, at least according to the Humane Society of the United States annual "Horrible Hundred" report. The 2015 report was released earlier this month and indicates a dog breeder in Beaver City, Nebraska, Saints4Life owned by Jamie Bailey, is among the 100 problem puppy mills in the nation. ...
Three new members for Review Committee (05/22/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The Citizens Advisory Review Committee is adding three members in the coming weeks. Former Mayor Dennis Berry was appointed to fill a vacancy on the committee left by the departure of former-Mayor Flora Lundberg and it was announced Monday he had asked to be replaced...
Mail-in vote credited for high turnout (05/18/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Official results from the 2015 Red Willow County Special Election indicate voter turnout was increased by the mail-in format and election officials offered praise in other areas. A total of 1,821 ballots were cast out of a possible 4,735 registered voters, according to the Red Willow County Clerk's Office, producing last week's reported 38 percent voter turnout. ...
Advisory group to report (05/15/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- More than seven years after adopting an ordinance committing the City of McCook and the McCook Economic Development Corp. to coordinate public hearings reporting on the progress of the city's sales tax funded economic development program, citizens will have their first chance to attend such a hearing Monday evening...
MEDC to concentrate on second effort (05/13/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- McCook Economic Development Executive Director Rex Nelson conceded this morning he was disappointed with the results from Tuesday's special election, however, he plans to focus his energy on ensuring a second effort turns out more favorable...
City Council pleased with tax renewal (05/13/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Unofficial results from the 2015 special election show the majority of city residents support continuing McCook's local option sales tax, but at the same time are against using the revenue to fund the McCook Economic Development Program. ...
Voters renew sales tax, decline economic development (05/12/15)
McCOOK, Neb. - Unofficial results from the Red Willow County Clerk's Office indicate the majority of voters approved renewal of the city's 1.5 percent local options sales tax, while declining to approve the continuation of the McCook Economic Development Program...
Election deadline 5 p.m. Tuesday (05/11/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Registered voters have until 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 12, to cast a vote in the 2015 special election pertaining to the City of McCook's local option sales tax. The Red Willow County Clerk's Office has received 1383 ballots as of Monday morning, which is closing in on the 1491 ballots needed to match voter turnout during the 2007 special election...
City Council: Firearm law OK as is (05/07/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook administers permits to citizens which authorize the open burning of leaves, discharging of fireworks and even for those with a need to blast high explosives within city limits. Archery and pellet gun practice, however, won't be among the activities permissible via permit anytime soon...
Eight days to return ballots on city sales tax (05/04/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The Red Willow County Clerk's Office has received more than 700 ballots, as of Thursday, pertaining to the local-option sales tax special election. Voters have until 5 p.m. on May 12 to return ballots to the clerk's office in the Red Willow County Courthouse...
Ten days to cast your vote (05/01/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The Red Willow County Clerk's Office has received more than 700 ballots, as of Thursday, pertaining to the local-option sales tax special election. Voters have until 5 p.m. on May 12 to return ballots to the clerk's office in the Red Willow County Courthouse...
Sit-down talk not in cards for kennel, neighbors (05/01/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A City Council requested sit down between owners of a local dog kennel and neighbors who raised noise and odor complaints doesn't appear to have worked out. City Council will receive an update Monday evening which indicates there was no interest in mediation on the part of the attorney representing neighbors of Dan and Lizann Miller...
City unlikely to loosen firearm laws (05/01/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Changing city ordinance to allow citizens to fire a slingshot or crossbow in the privacy of their backyard is unlikely to occur anytime soon, at least based on a review from City Attorney Nate Mustion. A McCook resident asked City Council in April to consider loosening up the law and City Council will be presented a review from Mustion Monday which concludes the city is in line with its firearm ordinance...
City tree rebate program continues through June 12 (04/29/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook Tree Rebate Program is underway for the spring 2015 season. The program offers rebates to residents for up to two trees purchased, per property, between March 30 and June 12, 2015. Trees must be a minimum of 6 feet in height, planted on property located within city limits, and purchased from a McCook business...
City: Trend favors little loss of state aid (04/27/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City officials provided an update to the local property tax landscape and indicated a decreasing trend in the statewide average should lessen concerns surrounding a potential revenue loss for McCook. Mayor Mike Gonzales said city staff learned last week the statewide average for municipalities, pertaining to property tax levy, had decreased...
Property taxes likely to increase, sales tax or no (04/24/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Registered voters mulling which way to vote in the coming days on McCook's local option sales tax have a variety of factors to consider, chief among them is how it will affect the city property tax levy. City leaders have communicated failing to adopt the sales tax would likely result in the city raising the property tax levy to the maximum, although, they have also communicated the levy will most likely be raised this coming year, regardless...
Sales tax ballots in the mail (04/23/15)
McCOOK, Neb, -- Election officials are mailing out ballots for the upcoming special election today, asking for renewal and increased spending flexibility pertaining to the city's local option sales tax. Residents should begin receiving them early next week, according to Red Willow County Clerk's Office, and will have until 5 p.m. on May 12 to return them to the clerk's office...
Changing times for City Council (04/22/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The McCook City Council advanced an ordinance Monday which would change the start time of their regularly scheduled meetings to 6:30 p.m. The change was unanimously approved on its first of three required readings, although, councilors indicated the third reading could be bypassed if the item garnered no opposition prior to the second reading...
Eight years into kennel dispute, city leaders want parties to chat (04/21/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- After two court rulings and multiple City Council and McCook Planning Commission meetings about a local dog kennel, the McCook City Council decided Monday neighbors involved in the dispute should try to sit down and talk it out. Councilors were scheduled to vote on implementing a limitation on the special exception, granted to Daniel and Lizann Miller in 2008, which would have required they limit the business to the size originally specified in their application. ...
NPPD, city plan tree ceremony (04/20/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- This Wednesday, April 22, the City of McCook, Nebraska Public Power District, and McCook third grade students will come together to plant trees at Felling Field. The event is hosted by NPPD in celebration of Arbor Day. Beginning at 12:30 p.m. ...
Nonprofit praises labor pool (04/06/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Representatives from the nonprofit organization which began setting up shop in the former Public Safety Center last week couldn't be happier with the pool of local applicants showing interest in two new construction manager positions...
Council meeting time to change? (04/03/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The McCook City Council is eyeing a possible change to the 7:30 p.m. meeting time of regularly scheduled meetings. City staff indicate they have been asked to review the current meeting time and whether an adjustment in times should be made. Agenda details for the item do not provide any clues as to what times are being considered in place of the 7:30 p.m. start time...
Compost collection begins Wednesday (03/31/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook will begin picking up compost cans Wednesday, April 1. City staff issued a reminder Tuesday asking residents to have compost cans out at the curb for pickup by 7 a.m. The cans will be picked up every Wednesday continuing through November...
Special election provides early look at sales tax renewal, additional cost minimal (03/27/15)
BRUCE BAKER City Editor McCOOK, Neb. -- An upcoming special election asking McCook citizens for renewal of the local options sales tax may not be as much about a shrinking renewal window, as it is about gauging public opinion as early as possible...
New city attorney brings high court experience, ag background to job (03/25/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Recently named City Attorney Nate Mustion brings an impressive resume, as well as what is a familiar background for many area residents, humble beginnings on a rural Nebraska farm. Although only in his mid-30s, the 1997 Culbertson High School graduate has already been involved in two cases argued before the Nebraska Supreme Court, one of them pitting him against one of the more respected attorneys practicing in the state today...
Injuries end local officer's police career (03/23/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- McCook Police Officer Shannon Brown was forced into early retirement recently stemming from injuries sustained in the line of duty. Brown is in her mid-40s and had been with the McCook Police Department since 2011, working in law enforcement since 1996...
Housing project advances (03/20/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled in the coming week for what will be the second senior housing project built in McCook in the last two years. Clary Village, LLC, representatives are coordinating the ceremony at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday at the development site on West Q Street...
Sales tax election to be mail-in ballot only (03/19/15)
Clerk's office sees increased voter turnout, lower cost McCOOK, Neb. -- The Red Willow County Clerk's Office notified city officials this week the upcoming special election related to renewal of McCook's local-option sales tax will be coordinated as a mail-in ballot election. The structure means polling places will not be open and voters will either mail their vote via the postal service or hand-deliver it to the clerk's office...
Volunteers helping fight crime since '81 (03/18/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A local group of volunteers and law enforcement officers has quietly been working behind the scenes since 1981 to help resolve and discourage criminal activity in the area. Representatives from the McCook Area Crime Stoppers visited with area residents Tuesday morning during the monthly Coffee with a Cop meeting at McDonald's...
Special meeting Wednesday to set sales tax vote (03/17/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City officials Monday night set Wednesday as the date for a special meeting to approve items for the upcoming sales tax renewal vote. During the meeting, the City Council will consider a resolution authorizing a special election on May 12, 2015, asking voters to approve a 1.5 percent local-option sales tax for a period of 15 years...
Inmate training program wins approval (03/17/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Prairie Gold Homes received approval Monday for the final item necessary to begin coordinating their inmate training program at the former Public Safety Center. Representatives from the Lincoln based non-profit thanked McCook for supporting their program and said they would begin interviewing applicants at the McCook Work Ethic Camp this week...
Housing project clarified (03/17/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- McCook Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Rex Nelson has provided additional details about the Clary Village Project in response to a March 13 Gazette article, "Clary Village Next Keystone?" According to Nelson, the Clary Village project will bring much-needed housing to McCook just as Kelly Creek Apartments, Maplewood, Landmark Apartments and East Ward Village did. ...
New city attorney from city manager's firm (03/13/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook is looking to fill its vacant City Attorney position with an employee from the legal firm City Manager Nate Schneider is a partner in. City Council will consider approving Nathaniel J. Mustion as McCook's next city attorney Monday evening. Mustion is an employee of Mousel, Brooks, Garner and Schneider, P.C., LLO. Schneider is a one-third member of the law firm as well as with Law 101, LLC, which owns the building the attorney practice operates out of...
Ag Lab eyes Alco building (03/13/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The recently vacated Alco building on West D Street may not sit vacant for long. American Ag Lab, formerly known as Olsen's Ag Lab, has a purchase agreement in place for the structure and is requesting a special exception from City Council to operate at the site. The business is looking to relocate from East First Street...
Sales tax seen as key to progress (03/11/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City leaders recapped sales tax expenditures over the past decade during recent town hall meetings in hopes of rallying support for renewal of the local-option tax, which brings in approximately $2.6 million a year. The City of McCook has spent a significant amount of sales tax revenue over the past decade, upgrading local streets and parks, while also making long overdue improvements to facilities that house the most critical of municipal services...
Council OKs Prairie Gold Homes lease (03/04/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook approved a one-year lease with Prairie Gold Homes Monday evening, setting the stage for the non-profit to expand Department of Corrections inmate training options available locally. The lease agreement provides a rent-free facility for the non-profit at the now-vacant Public Safety Center on West B Street and is anticipated to strengthen the Work Ethic Camp, as well as assist McCook in addressing a local housing shortage...
McCook gets high marks on annual audit (03/03/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook received another glowing evaluation during its annual audit report presented to City Council last night. "Overall, [city departments] continue to have improvements in most all areas," said Terry Galloway of Almquist, Maltzahn, Galloway & Luth, Certified Public Accountants...
City rallying support for sales tax (03/02/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City leaders coordinated the third and final town hall meeting this weekend and will continue efforts in the coming weeks to solicit support for renewal of McCook's local option sales tax. The meetings have provided an opportunity for city department heads to recap sales tax expenditures in recent years, as well as for citizens to provide input on the approximate $2.6 million revenue stream...
City mulls convention center idea (02/27/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook is considering a future in the convention business. City staffers have scheduled a discussion item with McCook City Council during Monday's regularly scheduled meeting, "to determine whether there is an interest or not with constructing a convention center utilizing city funds."...
Questions raised over committee (02/25/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook is coordinating a second town hall meeting Thursday evening to continue discussions about renewal of the local option sales tax. A review of commitments made during the previous renewal process indicates the city may have fallen short in holding up its end of the bargain...
Local option sales tax meeting 7 p.m. Thursday at city building (02/25/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook is coordinating the second of three sales tax town hall meetings Thursday evening in preparation for a special election this May. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at City Council chambers in the Municipal Center. City leaders indicated they plan to schedule a special election on May 5, 2015, asking voters to approve a 15-year 1.5 percent local option sales tax...
City seeks more time on sales tax (02/24/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook is hoping to add a few years in between sales tax renewal efforts, as well as loosen up restrictions on how the approximately $2.6 million in annual revenue is spent. City leaders have communicated they intend to ask voters to extend the sunset of the sales tax from 10 years to 15 years during a special election tentatively scheduled for May 12. They would also like to combine the separate one percent and half percent taxes into a single 1.5 percent tax...
Former mayor new program director for construction nonprofit (02/18/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Prairie Gold Homes has hired a program director and begun its search for a construction manager. The Lincoln-area non-profit was approved by the McCook City Council recently to lease the former Public Safety Center, which will serve as a Western Nebraska branch for its home construction/inmate training program...
Town hall meeting outlines sales tax information (02/18/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Receipts from the 1 percent portion of the current tax include $190,000 from motor vehicle sales toward the street fund, and $701,700 each to pay down city property taxes and city projects, City Manager Nate Schneider told about 20 people gathered for a townhall meeting Tuesday at the Heritage Senior Center...
First town hall sales tax meeting tonight (02/17/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The McCook City Council finalized its schedule Monday evening for a trio of town hall meetings in advance of a special election asking for renewal of the local options sales tax. Councilors will coordinate the first town hall meeting this evening, 5:30 p.m., at the Heritage Senior Center. ...
New housing development is advancing (02/17/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A $2.6 million senior housing development north of Q Street is expected to break ground in the coming weeks and likely be completed before the end of the year. The McCook Economic Development Corporation will act as the managing entity for the housing development, Clary Village, LLC, which will consist of eight senior housing duplex units built on property north of the Red Willow County Fairgrounds and directly west of the former McCook Public School's bus barn...
Sales tax town-hall meeting Tuesday at senior center (02/16/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook is coordinating the first of three town-hall meetings, Tuesday evening, pertaining to the upcoming special election to consider renewal of the local option sales tax. The public meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Heritage Senior Center...
City hopes to combine, extend sales tax (02/16/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City leaders are asking for additional flexibility this time around when renewing the local-option sales tax. They hope to extend the sunset from 10 years to 15 years and combine what was previously two taxes into one. The question voters will face in less than 12 weeks is whether or not they deserve it...
Sales tax issue moves to front burner (02/13/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Discussion on whether or not to renew the City of McCook's local-option sales tax will begin to heat up next week. The McCook City Council will finalize the schedule of town hall meetings on the topic Monday evening and coordinate the first meeting the next day...
Council OKs talks with nonprofit builder (02/04/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook will begin ironing out the details surrounding a one-year lease of the former Public Safety Center to a Lincoln-area non-profit. The non-profit, Prairie Gold Homes, was among several entities showing interest recently in leasing or purchasing the building...
Residents air concerns over streets, gas line (02/03/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A local couple asked the McCook City Council to consider prioritizing road repairs to a little- known roadway branching from South Street, indicating there was a danger of a natural gas emergency. Councilman Jerry Calvin, a former McCook police officer, said Monday evening he couldn't remember the name of the street but knew the police department often used it to stump rookie officers. ...
Street in need of repair? See if it's on he city's radar (01/30/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- If your drive to work begins on a bumpy roadway in need of repairs you might consider attending Monday's meeting of the McCook City Council. The City of McCook will coordinate its annual public hearing to discuss the one and six-year plan for city street improvements, which serves as the final opportunity for residents to raise awareness about road needs in their neighborhood...
Sales tax headed for ballot (01/23/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City voters will be asked whether or not to renew more than $2.6 million in annual sales taxes this May. City leaders concerned with the possibility of losing the revenue are getting an early start on renewal, as well as taking a different approach to the ballot questions...
Council mulls future of old city building (01/21/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The McCook City Council found themselves in uncharted waters Monday evening, faced with multiple options related to the future of a now-vacant city building. Councilors heard presentations from two groups wishing to lease the former Public Safety Center and indicated consideration was also being given to keep the building for indoor storage of city vehicles...
City expands blighted zone (01/20/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The McCook City Council unanimously approved expanding the designated substandard and blighted area within city limits by an additional nine acres. The addendum approved Monday evening adds to the existing redevelopment area, which was approximately 676 acres in size prior, an area adjacent to U.S. Highway 83 just north of the intersection with West N Street...
City OKs new semi for hauling trash (01/07/15)
BRUCE BAKER City Editor McCOOK, Neb. -- The McCook City Council approved an increase to the purchase price of a trash-hauling semi tractor earlier this week, raising the cost to $86,000. Councilors approved $65,000 for the purchase of a used semi in September and an additional $21,000 Monday after city staff determined buying new was a better investment. ...
Job training nonprofit eyes old city building (01/02/15)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A nonprofit organization specializing in providing job training programs for inmates is interested in leasing the City of McCook's former Public Safety Center. The potential tenant's plan for the building would provide additional job training options for inmates at the Work Ethic Camp as well as help with the local housing shortage...
Council finalizes lot sale (12/17/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The McCook City Council granted final approval to city staff Monday evening to sell a partial city lot, approximately 3500 square feet, to Mayor Mike Gonzales and his wife for $1,540. The property is just north of the recently completed parking lot at the McCook Public Library and directly south of the Gonzales home on Norris Avenue...
Plans for new subdivision advance (12/16/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A new subdivision located southeast of the Pearsons Country Terrace Subdivision received City Council approval last night. Councilors unanimously approved the final plat and subdivision agreement authorizing Dwight Gallatin of McCook to proceed with the creation of the Gallatin Subdivision...
City workers may get half-day off Christmas Eve (12/12/14)
McCOOK, Neb. --Monday evening, the McCook City Council will consider authorizing an additional half-day holiday on Christmas Eve for all city employees. The additional holiday time on Dec. 24 was successfully negotiated by the police department during union contract negotiations earlier this year and city intends to extend the benefit to all city employees in an effort to ensure they are treated the same, according to Monday's meeting agenda...
Mayor Berry retires with record time in office (11/24/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The McCook City Council will say goodbye to Mayor Dennis Berry next week after he swears in City Councilman-elect Gene Weedin. Mayor Berry will exit the position after serving more consecutive years as mayor than anyone in the history of McCook...
Property sale up for council approval (11/14/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A long-time resident made an impassioned plea to McCook City Council members last week asking they deny a request from a fellow councilor to purchase a piece of city property. City Council members offered no response at the time and subsequently approved the first reading of an ordinance authorizing the sale of 3500 sq. ft. of Norris Avenue property to fellow City Councilman Mike Gonzales and his wife at a price of $1540, or 44 cents per sq. ft...
City Council says no to raising, adding taxes on liquor (11/04/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The McCook City Council rejected a request from city staff to create new and increase existing occupation taxes on liquor licenses. Councilors objected to the timing, need and appropriateness of the increases prior to unanimously voting against the item, Monday evening, during their regularly scheduled meeting...
City may increase tax on liquor license holders (10/31/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook is looking to raise revenue by way of increasing the annual occupation tax on liquor licenses. According to city staff each community may collect an amount equal to double the state fees and McCook is currently a mixture ranging from none at all, to one-and-a-half times the state fees. City staff is proposing the fees be increased on all categories to one-and-a-half times the state liquor license fees...
New city subdivision gets go-ahead (10/21/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City Council approved the final plat for a new subdivision near the intersection of County Road 383 and what would be an extension of West J Street, County Road 716. The Bishop Acres Subdivision will consist of four three-acre lots and representatives for the project said they intended to include covenants preventing mobile homes on the property...
New buildings leave old ones' fates in limbo (10/03/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- City of McCook police, fire and administration operations are settling into their new headquarters at the McCook Municipal Center and the Red Willow County Sheriff's Department is similarly up and running in the recently completed Red Willow County Law Enforcement Center...
City tax growth dwarfed by that of county, school (09/25/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A recent comparison of property taxes levied by the City of McCook, Red Willow County and McCook Public Schools indicates the city is leading the way when it comes to conservative budget practices, a broader look strengthens the claim...
City hopes for voice in state water talks (09/18/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook has applied for representation on the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission, which will be tasked with establishing rules and regulations based on recommendations from the Water Funding Task Force. The commission should play an integral role in shaping the future of statewide irrigation and compact compliance practices, prompting a pair of local irrigators to appear before City Council Monday evening in support of the effort...
City online payments likely by next week (09/16/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City of McCook is upgrading its credit card system and residents should soon be able to pay their utility bills online, for a fee. City staff is awaiting the arrival of new card reader equipment expected to arrive in the coming days and in time for at least a test of the new system before the end of the week...
City levy steady while college, county decline (08/29/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Unlike their counterparts at McCook Community College and Red Willow County, the City of McCook plans to maintain its property tax levy despite the recent jump in property tax valuations. Red Willow County Commissioners announced last week they would drop the county's tax levy from 41 cents to 31 cents per $100 of tax valuation in their 2014-15 budget after citing a "huge, huge" increase in the county's valuation...
Attendance light at city budget meetings (08/22/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Following a budget workshop the week prior which attracted no public attendance, aside from city department heads, Monday's first reading of the city budget wasn't much better. The lack of attendance was noticed by at least one City Councilor who said he wished more members of the public would attend the meetings...
City targets $50K for pool repairs (08/22/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The McCook City Council directed city staff to reclassify budgeted funds for a new water slide as "pool improvements," prior to the second reading of the City of McCook 2014-15 Fiscal Year Budget. The change came Monday evening after Councilman Mike Gonzales initially proposed utilizing the water slide funds to bolster budgeted reserves. ...
Actual reserves may already be at level suggested (08/21/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- At least one City Councilman indicated recently he would like to see the City of McCook significantly increase its cash reserves to the tune of another $1.3 million. The goal would be to have enough on-hand to cover three months worth of expenses. However, a closer look at the performance history of the city budget indicates they may already be there...
Council ups funding for animal shelter (08/19/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The McCook City Council will likely increase its annual financial commitment to the McCook Humane Society in response to rising expenses at the operation. Representatives from the animal shelter attended Monday's regularly scheduled meeting and said utilities had increased higher than the funding the city provided for them, primarily related to their electricity bill and in part due to the space they provided for the police department to house stray dogs and cats...
Auditorium expenses highest since 2008 (08/18/14)
Despite no longer being the base of operations for city administration and several department heads, the budgeted expense for McCook Memorial Auditorium continues to grow.
First reading of city budget Monday night (08/15/14)
The McCook City Council will coordinate their annual public hearing to hear support, opposition, criticism, suggestions or observations pertaining to the city budget Monday evening.
Budget crunch outweighing fire department staffing needs? (08/15/14)
The McCook ambulance service is already busier than ever and a national trend causing rural ambulance services to shut down may be on the brink of pushing their responsibilities even further.
Burglaries down, citations up (08/13/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The McCook Police Department saw a much appreciated decrease in burglary activity last year, which may have given officers and investigators the ability to return their focus to lesser crimes and contributed to an increase in arrests and citations issued throughout the year...
City trash bill may increase; others steady (08/12/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- Trash and recycling may cost you a little more, but the proposed McCook city budget includes no increase in the tax levy, water or sewer rates. The City Council is considering a $2.50 per month increase to residential trash collection rates in the coming year. The increase would be divided into a $1.50 per month increase to solid waste collection and a $1 per month increase for recycling...
Committee favors delaying sales tax vote (08/08/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The Sales Tax Ballot Language Committee will recommend to the McCook City Council that the city wait until May 2015 and hold a special election to get voter approval to continue the city's 1.5 percent sales tax. Both the 1 percent local-option sales tax and the additional half-percent sales tax expire in 2018...
City property tax revenue continues to climb (08/08/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- The City Council has yet to make an official determination as to whether or not to raise the property tax levy in the coming fiscal year, but one thing is certain, property tax revenue to the city will likely increase regardless. The current fiscal year is on target to meet early projections that the property tax revenue would increase by a little more than $63,000 ahead of prior year and the City of McCook's preliminary 2014-15 budget predicts an increase of another $54,296 in the coming year. ...