Mayor of Bellevue focuses on economic future

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BELLEVUE, Neb. (WOWT)- Bellevue Mayor Rusty Hike talked about the one who got away when his community lost a Costco years ago. Hike remembered it when Omaha has approved construction plans for its third Costco.

Today, Bellevue is focused on its economic future.

Bellevue officials know the importance of supporting local businesses, but right now the city is getting a boost in sales tax revenue from Bellevue residents who shop from home.

“The more you shop online when you’re in town here, those taxes come to the city you live in, so if I were to go to one of the nearby towns and buy something, those sales tax dollars go to that city, where if I buy it on Amazon, that tax comes to Bellevue,” Hike said.

Bellevue Rusty Hike says the town is trying to circumvent its image as a dormitory community.

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

When the Omaha 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 reduce these taxes. TIF funding was recently approved for the Bridge Flats in the Frontier neighborhood. A $14 million project featuring 53 luxury apartments with space for retail and Bellevue is still betting on getting a casino in the city.

“It still has to come out of the race commission, they have to complete their study, but the developers for this have done their own studies and they say those studies are going well, so they’re not worried about that, so I expect it could be a year before we know it,” Hike said.

Mayor Hike hopes economic growth will help Bellevue heal its image.

“That was a problem with Bellevue for a while, I think the vision was that we were a dorm community and that’s how people wanted it, but when you’re a dorm community people have to paying taxes which is not always the best way to go about your business,” Hike said.

Mayor Hike says if the city can open a casino, she plans to add a regional water park and create an entertainment district that will bring in even more money for the city.

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