Council OKs wine, spirits licenses for local Casey's stores

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

McCOOK, Neb. — By 3 to 1, the McCook City Council approved an upgraded liquor application sought by Casey’s General Stores in McCook.

The convenience store/gas station, with three locations in McCook, currently sells only beer with a Class B liquor license. A Class D liquor license that Casey applied for allows the sale of wine and distilled spirits, off-sale only, as well as beer.

At the public hearing Monday night for the new liquor license, Jesse Dutcher, the city’s utility director but speaking as a private citizen, asked the council to “be mindful” that the stores also sell pop and candy to young children. “It may not be the best combination,” he said.

Mayor Mike Gonzales asked if other convenience stores/gas stations sell wine and distilled spirits and city staff was not sure if there were any. With no further discussion, the council voted, with Councilmen Jared Muhlenkamp, Jerry Calvin and Gene Weedin voting in favor of the new liquor license and Mayor Gonzales voting against. Councillor Janet Hepp was not present, leaving the meeting earlier at 6 p.m.

In other business Monday night at the regular meeting, the city council unanimously approved amending a city ordinance that requires any purchase over $30,000 must go through the formal bidding process and be put out for bid.

The ordinance was changed to allow the city to purchase supplies, equipment, or services through “Sourcewell.” The city would access this company by joining a cooperative of other cities and counties in Nebraska.

City Manager Nate Schneider said it would be used to purchase used equipment, as buying pre-owned equipment can be tricky not knowing the exact history of the piece.

Public Works Director Kyle Potthoff added that it would be used to buy specialized equipment as well, but not purchases such as pickups.

Per City staff request, the council approved the ordinance on its first reading, suspending the three-reading rule.

The council also unanimously approved using Community Betterment Funds to cover the rental fees for the annual Toy Box event at the McCook City Auditorium on Dec. 8.

Barb Ostrum told the council that they’ve limited the Toy Box to eight counties in Southwest Nebraska, as people from Yuma, Colo., Kearney and Lexington, Neb., were coming to the event. Last year, she said 425-450 kids received new toys and over 100 bikes were given away. In fact, bikes are given away throughout the year, Ostrum said, with $17 the cost to refurbish a bike to brand-new condition.

She added that the Toy Box could not be as successful as it is without the generous support of the community.

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