Dakota City neighbors cautiously optimistic about project
DAKOTA CITY, Neb. (KTIV) -- Dakota City, Nebraska takes the next step in setting the stage for hundreds of jobs, and being ready for many more.
Monday night, the City Council designated land south of the Roth Industrial Park as a Tax Increment Financing district, or a "TIF" district. That means any business that sets up shop on the land would pay for land acquisition and infrastructure improvements, but would not pay taxes, until the improvements are paid off.
The designation of that district comes after news that Dakota City is working to land at least one major industry, that would employ around 850 people. While jobs for hundreds is always good news, a handful of people are looking at this project with a fine tooth comb.
With the promise of a $25 million annual payroll, this potential project would put a lot of people to work. Some living near the site, however, are worried it could ruin their way of life.
"The value of your property, when you've worked hard to pay for your home, you want to be able to get out of it what it's worth," says neighbor Phyllis Obermeyer.
Folks living on Windsor Court and Castle Lane in are anxious to see what jobs could pop up on what's now farmland. They're also cautious, because for many, this site is in their backyard.
Obermeyer says, "We bought into that property because it's a nice quiet area. We just want to make sure it stays that way."
Since Dakota City's planning on large-scale industry for the land, it's agreed to set aside $63,000 to pay for trees to serve as a buffer between homes and businesses. Noise isn't neighbors' only concern, though.
"Anything with a major smell," Obermeyer says.
"That's the first thing we look at: is it going to smell? If it is, then we don't even look at it," said Dakota City mayor James Roberts.
Roberts says when recruiting businesses, the city will make sure the employer serves as a benefit and not a detriment to the majority of people living in town.
"We want to make it community friendly, and that's what we've been doing," Roberts said.
Obermeyer is optimistic the city will keep its word, but living here for 19 years, Phyllis says she'll be asking questions up until, and after new employers sign on the dotted line.
"I'm sure they're going to do what they say they're going to do, but it's still a major concern," Obermeyer says.
The city hasn't revealed exactly what kind of employer is likely locate on the site.
Now that the land has the "TIF" designation, Dakota City will be working with South Sioux City to actively market it to other possible employers, not just the one already being discussed. South Sioux City will also split half of the tax revenue that any business would generate.