On November 6th, Grand Island residents will be charged with deciding the fate of LB840 funds. Those are the notorious dollars that some say bankrupt Structured Solutions stole.
Others fear that Structured Solutions debacle, could steal the spotlight away from positive results. The Economic Development Corporation kicked off a media campaign last month. But now, it's getting into the details that count. The EDC is focusing on job creation, new solutions to avoid another structured solutions and finances.
"On November 6th, you got to come out and vote ‘yes' on LB840," said Jay Kaspar, an elected trustee with the EDC. He's hoping Grand Island residents will make LB840 a 10 year tradition. "This is our economic engine," he said. "This is what gives us an advantage over some of our competitors, whether it be cities our same size, in different states, or all over the United States."
That engine said Kaspar, doesn't not need any extra oil from one decade to another, just one more word to the ballot.
"They wanted to have the words ‘jobs' in there, because this is a program that creates jobs and retains jobs in the city of Grand Island," said Robert Sivick, Grand Island's city attorney.
The EDC isn't asking for a penny more than they did in 1993. That's back when a gallon of gas was $1.11 and minimum wage was $4.25. "The program will cost $750,000 dollars a year, so essentially if this is approved it will mean for a 20 year period we've kept the costs at the same level and I don't see that sort stability anywhere else in our economy," he said.
"We wanted to be mindful of the economy and want to be competitive without going over the edge," said Kaspar.
But, some say LB840's renewal may have jumped over the edge with Structured Solutions; the now defunct California-based business that defaulted on a $600,000 loan. "The EDC has had 17-18 successful operations opposed to one that wasn't a success," said Sivick.
Those 17-18 successes or wins said officials make the EDC's LB840 funds a good bet to take. "In the world of baseball, that would be a pretty darn good batting average. I think people need to keep that in mind," he said.