MEDC touts 'stabilizing' role in area
McCOOK, Neb. — Economic development officials recognized three of their own last week and touted the sales tax funded entity’s role in keeping McCook’s population strong.
“Over the years the MEDC has played a pivotal role in stabilizing the population of McCook by being a lead agency in providing jobs and housing as exampled by the Work Ethic Camp, Valmont, Booe Salvage, Silverheels, the Cobblestone Hotel, East Ward Village, Quillan Courts and Clary Village, among others. Without these efforts, our community could very well be in the 5,000 population range,” said McCook Economic Development Corp. Board President Dennis Berry during an MEDC annual member meeting at Community Hospital last week.
Berry indicated the voter-approved sales tax was a great benefit to MEDC but local support from businesses and individuals played a bigger role. “The passage of the quarter-cent sales tax for economic development has been a great help but the donations by dozens of local business and individuals continue to be the key to future success,” he said.
Revenue budgeted for McCook’s Economic Development Program from local-option sales tax and motor vehicle sales tax receipts is budgeted to exceed $368,333 during the 2016-17 fiscal year, according to the city budget. By comparison, MEDC cash contributions from members totaled $62,625 for the fiscal year ending December of 2015, the most recent report available to the Gazette as an MEDC member. Revenue from MEDC rental income exceeded $85,000, according to the same report, and MEDC Staff and Admin were allocated $129,922 in sales tax revenue.
MEDC reported 36 members at varying membership levels during the last fiscal year, from a $250 sponsor level “Brick Membership” up to $10,000 voting level “Community Builder Membership,” according to interim director Andrew Ambriz.
Ambriz also spoke during last week’s MEDC meeting and similarly touted the role of economic development in keeping rural Nebraska communities strong.
“Around the state, Economic Development is a strong contributor to the success of rural communities. We, here in McCook, are experiencing a time of great success and our team is excited to carry that success forward to continue to provide a high quality of life for our community”, said Ambriz.
Berry recognized three individuals for their service to the corporation, Van Korell, Peter M. Graff and Russ Kugler. All three are founding members of MEDC.
“These founders saw the need to form a group to support a strong economy for McCook and Southwest Nebraska. Current projects include the housing efforts, Next Generation investing nearly nine million in new construction and Holiday Inn Express planning groundbreaking this spring. Today, we need to continue their work to make the future worthy of the past”, said Berry.
At the conclusion of last week’s member meeting, dubbed the “2017 Milestone Celebration,” MEDC hosted a social hour with hors d’oeuvres and live music provided by three local high school students; Gabe Sehnert, Kassidy Michaelis and Syd Wier.