Residents of Phelps County. Those of us who are privileged to live in Phelps County know that the people who live here - our neighbors - are one of the things that makes it special.

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What is LB840?

Phelps County residents were recently invited to participate in meetings to define priorities for community needs in the next 15 years.

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Phelps County is Fourth Healthiest County in the State

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ A report examining how health is influenced by community says Cedar County is the healthiest county in the Nebraska, while ...
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Residents of Phelps County

Just the place to know your neighbors

Those of us who are privileged to live in Phelps County know that the people who live here — our neighbors — are one of the things that makes it special. One of the goals of justtheplacenebraska.com is to help the people of Phelps County connect with each other to create a richer, fuller life for everybody here.

Phelps County Gallery is a place for you to post pictures of Phelps County. It’s easy to share your photos of this little corner of the world with the rest of the planet.

Today in Phelps County is the calendar of events that you create. To add an event such as a meeting of your club or organization, a dance, a car wash, a bake sale or a joke-a-thon, just follow the instructions and click submit. That way, everyone will know everything of interest happening in Phelps County every day.

What is LB840?

Phelps County residents were recently invited to participate in meetings to define priorities for community needs in the next 15 years.

The first session educated the public on LB840, economic development, and the past uses of LB840. Over the course of three work sessions, five topics emerged and by vote of those in attendance, the priorities became:

  1. Economic development
  2. Infrastructure
  3. Housing
  4. Recreational facilities
  5. Education

The next question centers on how these needs may be funded.

One source of funding is the LB840 sales tax. This tax, which must be approved by voters, allows cities to collect sales tax to be used for economic development purposes. For the past 13 years, a half-cent sales tax in Holdrege funded the creation and work of the Phelps County Development Corporation and the construction of the YMCA OF THE PRAIRIE.

While the recent LB840 planning sessions gave community leaders a collective vision for community needs, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all the needs can be funded through LB840.

“The misconception is that LB840 funds can be used for anything,” said Monica Boyken, PCDC Executive Director.

Don Kraus, one of the PCDC members who helped develop the half-cent sales tax proposal in 2001 and 2002 said, “PCDC identified two priorities early – funding for traditional economic development and funding for improved recreation facilities. Authorization for the sales tax stated that half of the funds would be used for economic development and the other half for parks and recreation – with reference to a YMCA type facility. PCDC believed that improvements in recreation facilities would improve the quality of life and help retain the workforce.”

Some projects identified as priorities in the next 15 years may not qualify for LB840 funds. But, these projects may be funded through other community resources.

LB840 funds are required to be used for economic development purposes and must follow guidelines put into place by the state law.

According to the state law, “an economic development program may include, but is not limited to, the following activities:”

  1. direct loans or grants to qualifying businesses for fixed assets and/or working capital;
  2. loan guarantees for qualifying businesses;
  3. grants for public works improvements which are essential for the location or expansion of a qualifying business;
  4. grants or loans for job training;
  5. the purchase of real estate, options for such purchases, and the renewal or extension of such options;
  6. payments for salaries and support of city staff or the contracting of an outside entity to implement the ecnomic development program;
  7. bonding used to carry out program activities; and
  8. production of films, including feature, independent and documentary films, commercials and television programs.
  9. An economic development program may also include grants or loans for the construction or rehabilitation for sale or lease of housing for persons of low to moderate income.

In addition, there are many other rules on how LB840 funds may be spent. For a full definition of rules and qualifications, please visit: http://neded.org/community/community-info/community-improvement/local-option-municipal-economic-development-act-lb840

Local leaders will meet on Dec. 18 to identify which community priorities may be funded with LB840 funds. After that, voters must approve the plan before the tax can be collected. The current LB840 sales tax expires in 2017.


posted on December 17, 2014 by PCDC

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