Gering Senator John Stinner hosted an informal town hall meeting Tuesday morning at Mitchell City Hall, and discussed the latest in the legislature and listened to concerns from constituents.
Issues discussed this morning included property tax, the current ag landscape, term limits, housing, and infrastructure.
Stinner says property tax, Department of Corrections, and K-12 funding were big issues last year.
He also talked about one of his priority bills- LB496 – which offers Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for workforce housing. Stinner says it’s a challenge to find builders in Scotts Bluff County to build new housing for under $200 a square foot.
Stinner says in Denver, homes are being built at a cost of approximately $91 a square foot. In Lincoln that cost ranges from $100 to $125 per square foot. He notes those cities have mass population and demand.
“What this bill does is supply a gap. If you can get up to $250,000 and you’re able to get a builder to build four or five homes, they can actually bring that cost to $150 per square foot- simply because they’re more committed and can buy in quantity.”
However his bill is solely for smaller, rural communities.
“Lincoln and Omaha are excluded out of this,” explained Stinner. “It’s more or less for the Mitchell’s and the Gering’s and the Scottsbluff’s and the Minatare’s that need to have a four to ten house opportunity.”
The bill takes into account the affordability index for the average home buyer and use the TIF to fill the gap.
Stinner will be hosting two more town halls this week. On Tuesday evening he’ll be at the Gering City Hall at 5:30 p.m. On Wednesday morning he will host his final town hall meeting at the Morrill American Legion at 8 a.m.