April 2019 Director’s Update

AREA News, News - 04.29.19

Valmont has been a great addition to McCook.

Last year Valmont paid $146,283.52 in property taxes. These taxes went to fund the school, city, county, ESU, historical society, Mid-Plains Community College, and the Natural Resources District. Sixteen years ago, the land where Valmont was located paid $784.12 in property tax. The addition of Valmont has brought over 150 jobs, over $8,000,000 in increased property value, and around $150,000 more in local property taxes.

Thanks to the unicameral debate around a proposed constitutional amendment to adjust Tax Increment Financing (TIF), I thought it would be good to give an example of how TIF has affected us in McCook. Part of the incentive package that attracted Valmont was TIF. TIF is one of the more confusing incentive packages available in the state and that confusing brings about misunderstanding.

TIF allows developers to issue a bond for development of a site. Expenses that are TIF eligible include land acquisition, site development, professional fees, installation and construction of public infrastructure, and façade improvements.

Valmont was able to receive a TIF bond to help construct their manufacturing facility. Due to their construction, the value of the land went from $36,510 to $8,200,388 today. The increase in property taxes went to pay off the bond that Valmont received for development for 15 years. The property taxes paid on the original valuation of $36,510 continued to go to the taxing entities, while just the additional property tax went to pay off the bond. The property did not come off the tax roll during the 15 year repayment period.

Because of TIF, we were able to attract a major employer and eventually increase property taxes collected. If TIF wasn’t an option, Valmont would have located elsewhere and we would not have benefitted from their presence and value to McCook.

I also wanted to give an update on some other activities happening at MEDC. Currently, we are administering a survey to get the public’s input on Early Childhood Education. If you haven’t taken the survey yet, please go to our homepage at www.mccookne.org and you can find a link. We plan on hosting some public information sessions on May 22 and 23 to distribute the survey data and get feedback on your thoughts on how we can improve access and the quality of early childhood education.

We had Brooke Bouck from Nebraska Children visit with our early childhood education providers last Thursday evening. As a part of the gathering, there was conversation about some of the challenges our providers experience and initial conversations on what can be done to improve access to childcare locally.

The McCook Growth Fund Citizen’s Advisory Group met in April to review LB 840 growth fund expenses in the first quarter. There were two disbursements from the Revolving Loan Program to help in the transition with two local businesses from local owners to new local owners. Every month, I add to my list of successful small business owners who are looking to transition out of their business. If you are interested in purchasing an existing business and thought financing would be impossible, let me know and we can explore how our revolving loan can assist in gap financing.

We were fortunate to host the Nebraska Department of Economic Development Director Dave Rippe last week. At the Rotary presentation he shared communities that concentrate on the quality of life and create places where people want to live are attracting workforce and businesses. He also shared that in our 63 most rural counties the creation of 10 jobs is similar to the creation of 1,000 jobs in Omaha. Economic development has expanded from chasing smokestacks to creating inviting communities.

Earlier in April, I had a chance to travel to Lincoln with Kandra Kinne from Cambridge and Megan Spargo from Benkelman. We submitted a $425,000 grant proposal to the Department of Economic Development to create a regional revolving housing fund. We were one of 8 proposals out of the 33 submitted that had a chance to present in front of the Department of Economic Development panel. We continue to look for creative ways to improve our housing stock and hope to hear if we received the grant in the next couple weeks.

We continue to look to conduct business recruitment, workforce development and recruitment, and housing improvements. If you have questions or thoughts, please don’t hesitate to get a hold of me.