Letter to the Editor

Jail in question

Friday, March 10, 2006

Dear Editor,

Even though I did not participate in the bleacher discussion with the city, I am aware of the lack of cooperation in the city's dealings with the county on the issue. It is my belief that John Bingham was a major source of the problem.

The fair board and the county tried on several occasions to talk with Mr. Bingham about what adjustments could be made to bring the bleachers up to code, but the members received no communication until it was too late.

Representatives of the county fair board were even told by the city attorney and building inspector that they were not allowed to comment on the bleacher issue.

This is not to say that some mistakes were not made on both sides, but when push comes to shove, it is time to think of the business community and the residents of Red Willow County. After all, they are the ones who have to pay the bills.

One business alone lost almost $5,000 in revenue (compared to the previous year) because the Rough Stock Rodeo was cancelled.

Besides that, the fair board had to pay an additional $8,000 to the Colorado contractor to bring the bleachers up to code. In the view of the contractor and fair board members, safety was not the issue. It was all about slight differences in how the bleachers were assembled and the details of the code.

In my opinion and that of many others whom I respect, variances should have been granted to solve this problem at a very small cost. But the county and the fair board did not even receive the courtesy of a fair and open discussion of the matter.

I am concerned that the lack of cooperation by Mr. Bingham will be detrimental to the city-county jail discussion. He needs to remember that the people of McCook also live in Red Willow County, so the funds are all coming out of the same pockets. Wouldn't it be nice if the city and county could work together to arrive at an answer? I doubt that is possible under Mr. Bingham's reign.

I see that if something isn't on the agenda, not even a councilman can mention other subjects. In my opinion, I think it's time for the city council to "cowboy up" and take their town back from the Czar. The removal of this non-cooperation is long past due.

Tom Kiplinger,


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