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‘Lesson learned’: Bellevue mayor concentrates on economic future

BELLEVUE, Neb. (WOWT) – Bellevue Mayor Rusty Hike talked about the one that got away when his community lost out on a Costco years ago. Hike was reminded of that when Omaha gave approval for plans to build its third Costco.

Now, Bellevue is concentrating on its economic future.

Bellevue officials know it is important to support local businesses but right now the city is getting a boost in its sales tax revenues from Bellevue residents who shop at home.

“The more you buy online when you’re in town here those taxes come to the city you’re living in so if I was to go out to one of the neighboring cities and buy something those sales tax dollars go to that city, where if I buy it on Amazon that tax is coming to Bellevue,” said Hike.

Bellevue Rusty Hike says the city is trying to work around its bedroom community image.

“It’s nice to have a quite cozy neighborhood, not a lot of traffic not a lot of noise but the more people you get the more roads you need the more infrastructure you have to have, and improvements so that’s going to drive your taxes up,” said Hike.

When Omaha’s city council voted to approve preliminary plans for a new Costco in West Omaha, it reminded Bellevue Mayor Rusty Hike of a missed opportunity.

Bellevue is working to bring new businesses to town to help lower those taxes. TIF financing was recently approved for the Bridge Flats in the Frontier District. A $14 million project featuring 53 luxury apartment units with space for retail and Bellevue is still betting on getting a casino in the city.

“It still has to come out of the racing commission they have to finish their study but the developers for that have done their own studies and they say those studies come out fine so they’re not worried about that so I fully expect it could be a year before we find out,” said Hike.

Mayor Hike is hoping economic growth will help Bellevue deal with its image.

“That’s been an issue with Bellevue for quite some time I think the vision used to be we’re a bedroom community and that’s the way people wanted it but when you’re a bedroom community the people have to pay the taxes that’s not always the best way to take care of business,” said Hike.

Mayor Hike says if the city can land a casino they have plans to add a regional water park and create an entertainment district that will bring in even more tax dollars to the city.

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