City Council approves 2020-2030 economic development program

Lexington now has in place an ecnomic development program for the next 10 years starting on May 1, 2020. The program will allow the city to continue to foster new business and help grow the community.

LEXINGTON — The economic development program for Lexington is now in place for the next decade thanks to the ordinance being approved by the city council during their meeting on Tuesday, June 11.

The program begins colleting funds on May 1, 2020 and ends on April 20, 2030, it uses the existing one percent local sales tax to fund economic development. Since the program was started back in 2000, it has helped to stimulate $140 million in private investment, retain 377 jobs and added $16 million for local payroll.

The ordinance reestablishes the infrastructure already in place with the current economic development program.

A Citizen Advisory Review Committee, CARC, made up of five community members who help oversee how the money gathered by this program is being used. Mayor John Fagot previously described their role as being, “watch dogs” of the program.

The ordinance also states the City Manager, Joe Pepplitsch, is responsible for the administration of the program and serves as an ex-officio member of the CARC.

The council approved the ordinance and the program will go into effect next year.

A deletion from the subdivision code was considered by the council. Pepplitsch said the Lexington Planning Commission approved of the change and forwarded it to the council.

The change would eliminate a signature block by the county treasurer, to make sure there were no special or delinquent taxes due on the property.

“We ran into a couple instances where it drug down the process of finalizing a plat,” Pepplitsch said, “We didn’t see what the benefit was, delinquency is a whole other process. We don’t see what good it does.”

Mayor Fagot asked what if a property under consideration had a lien against it. Pepplitsch stated “it doesn’t affect anything.”

Council member Steve Smith elaborated on the matter saying leins and delinquent tax issues of this sort are more common in metropolitan areas like Lincoln or Omaha and would necessitate this kind of signature block.

City Attorney Brian Copley added there were no state statutues which required a signature block of this kind.

Pepplitsch said later, “We originally thought this would add credibility, but it has held us up in the past.”

The council approved the code amendment after the discussion.

An annual request from the West Central Nebraska Agency on Aging was on the agenda as well. A meal program for the fiscal year of 2020 was proposed to start on July 1, 2019.

The city receives money for the meals it serves as the Grand Generation center and the Meals on Wheels program, and the agency reimburses the city for the services it provides.

Pepplitsch said the funding for this year remains relatively stable, the council approved the contract.

During the roundtable discussion Pepplistsch said work was being done at the Dawson County Opportunity Center to prepare it for the workforce training space which will be coming in the future.

Mayor Fagot also reminded the council about holding a work session to discuss upcoming projects.

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