Coming Together to Grow June 13, 2017

13 Jun 2017

I can’t believe it’s summer already. Let me catch you up on some of the activities YCDC has been involved in.

Over the last few years, we’ve collaborated with citizens to identify priorities for York County through our Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) interviews, the Marketing Hometown America (MHA) Initiative, the labor study and the housing study. It’s become very apparent that housing development, workforce development, workforce recruitment, the creation of high paying jobs, and the improvement of Liour quality of life are all priorities for our employers and residents alike.

What does that mean for YCDC? In order to meet the needs identified by our research, we hired Bre Goben. As development coordinator, Bre’s goals are expanding the workforce and creating new housing initiatives. She is also involved in the YCDC BRE program and will lead the ongoing MHA Initiative. More information related to MHA can be found here:

YCDC’s newest addition is our partnership with the York Chamber and the University of Nebraska’s Rural Futures Institute (RFI). RFI interns, Emily Coffey and Shelby Riggs, will assist the Chamber and YCDC for nine weeks. One of their responsibilities is to collaborate with Bre and the MHA steering committee and facilitators to finalize the MHA strategic plan and create marketing materials. Additionally, they will work with a joint YCDC/City of York committee to tailor an LB840 plan that meets York’s needs.

What is LB840? It is an economic development plan that can be used for both community and economic development activities. State legislation first approved LB840 in 1991. This created an opportunity for municipalities to develop a plan and select a funding source with which to fund the plan - an option that had not existed previously. According to the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, 68 communities in Nebraska have passed and are reaping the rewards of LB840. State legislation allows those communities to utilize the program revenue for many uses including but not limited to housing, workforce development, workforce recruitment, business development and façade improvements.

Some communities utilize the funds to update or install infrastructure for housing. Other communities elect to create job training credits, matching businesses’ contributions for continuing education and employee training. Holdrege uses the LB840 funds to attract new people and former residents to the community, matching up to $2,500 for new employee bonuses. The City of Wayne uses a portion of its funds to incentivize downtown businesses to make greater façade and code improvements than wouldn’t be possible without the funds. They also used the funds in a new housing subdivision to help with the infrastructure cost. To clarify, YCDC will not use these funds for current activities or operating funds. The beauty of LB840 is that the plan can be adapted to meet the needs of the community as it grows and changes.

There’s a lot to this program, so over the next six to nine months we will be providing educational materials to ensure the plan is clear to all residents before it goes to a vote. A committee including myself, Tony North, Jim Ulrich, Mike Lucas, Amie Kopcho, Wally Byrne, Daryl Wilton, Orval Stahr, Joe Frei, Barry Redfern, Ron Mogul and Matt Spanjers are crafting a plan to meet York’s needs. We’ve been analyzing data from surveys and the MHA project. We still need to decide on the funding source, dollar amount and timeline. Once the plan is finalized, the York City Council must approve the plan before it can go to a public vote. Projects require an application and will be selected by the program administrator, loan committee and citizen advisory review committee; budgeted for and approved by the City Council; and overseen by the city attorney. The city council will also approve an annual budget throughout the year to allocate the resources generated by the program.

As we continue to work on these strategies, please feel free to reach out to the YCDC office with comments and feedback. We would like to include your thoughts as we move forward, or address any concerns you might have. In the meantime, please enjoy your summer!

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