Letter to the Editor

Progress or die

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dear Editor and fellow citizens of McCook,

"There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction."

-- John F. Kennedy, 35th president

On Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010 you will have a chance to make a difference by supporting the proposed Fire/Police/City Administration facility.

There has been a lot written about this project, some of it was correct, much of it is not.

Fact: It doesn't matter whether you vote yes or no on the proposed facility. The City Council has voted and has approved for the demolition of the old West Ward School. The school served our community well, however, it is time to stop living in the past and move to our future.

Fact: It doesn't matter whether you vote yes or no on the proposed facility; your property tax won't change. A yes vote will not increase your property tax and a no vote will not decrease your property tax. The proposed facility will be constructed with existing and future sales tax funds through a short term bond (seven years).

Fact: The city has $1.5 million in reserve that will be used toward this project. What some have called rat holing, I call responsible financial planning.

Fact: Interest rates are at a historical low.

Fact: Construction cost is extremely low.

Fact: The City Council did not have to put this to a public vote. Instead of 5 of our citizens making this decision, the Council has made this a community decision. The City does not have enough money in its reserve fund to build this facility without your approval.

Fact: By Nebraska State Statute, it is the responsibility of the County to house prisoners. This function was taken over years ago when the County had to close their facility. Once a person is arrested they become the responsibility of the County.

Fact: The City has offered the County the current Jail facility and, as long as it is not closed, it can continue to be used. No one is forcing the County into a decision. An offer has been made and it will be up to the County Commissioners' whether they accept the offer.

Fact: It was the 'let's wait and start over attitude' that has brought us to our present situation. A facility that was intended to serve our citizens for 5 years has now grown to 25 years.

I am grateful for those community leaders that have gone before us and wanted to see a brighter future for McCook and our citizens. It was those leaders that made possible the projects such as Community Hospital, the YMCA, the College, the Golf Course, the renovated Keystone facility and the renovated Elementary School.

"Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future." -- John F. Kennedy

The time is now to act and vote yes. Yes, we want to take advantage of low interest rates, yes, we want to take advantage of low construction cost; and yes we want to pay for this project with a means that will not use property tax dollars.

"Nuff said"... it's time to act!

Lana Stewart,

proud citizen

of McCook, Nebraska