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Statute helps build Gering business
December 05, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

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Lane Danielzuk, Gering City Administrator

Thanks to legislation passed in 1991, Gering and other Nebraska communities can use some of its revenues to help attract and retain businesses in their towns.

The legislation, the Local Option Municipal Economic Development Act, is commonly referred to by its bill number that year – LB 840. It allows municipalities to spend local sales or property taxes to help create new businesses or retain and expand existing businesses.

Gering voters approved the taxing authority in 2003 and set aside one-half percent of the city’s sales tax for economic development projects.

“Most of our endeavors have been to retain or expand existing businesses that qualify for the funds,” said Gering City Administrator Lane Danielzuk. “However, we’ve also had some new projects come on board.”

He said when working with an existing business, the primary goal isn’t to expand or improve a business, but to keep them whole with respect to what they have and to keep them located in Gering.

“If a business over the years has shown itself to be sustainable, we do everything we can to keep the business in the same position,” Danielzuk said. “One of our more recent projects has been with the Daily Grind Coffeehouse, but it’s actually being done through the building owners.”

He added that with smaller projects, the city works more closely with the contractors who do the actual work, because that’s where most of the funding is expended. The Daily Grind project was run through the city, using the city’s purchasing policies to get contractors to complete the work.
Danielzuk said he hoped the relocation of the Daily Grind would encourage other small entrepreneurs to consider the building as a place to open or expand.

“There are other business retention projects that are entirely different and larger in scope and nature,” he said. “On two separate occasions we did business retention projects with Magnolia Homes.”

Those two projects had the company building modular homes during the slow winter months. Those homes were later sited in the city’s Pathfinder Addition, where they were sold and put on the tax rolls.

As Gering’s City Administrator, Danielzuk also has up to $30,000 in discretionary spending authority. “Most of the time I’ve used that is in relation to economic development activities,” he said. “But there are other times when it’s just cost prohibitive for us to get involved in some of the larger structures.”

He said that as work continues on the downtown redevelopment planning grant, more opportunities will become apparent. That could include some LB 840 support to bring the projects to reality.

The planning grant is being done by an outside firm, which Danielzuk said is a positive. “It’s always good to have someone else take a look the assets and value (what) the community offers. They might point out opportunities we might be missing.”
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