AP NEWS

Nebraska mayor unhappy with mental health center’s location

February 19, 2019

BELLEVUE, Neb. (AP) — A Nebraska mayor is warning that his city could lose property tax revenue if county officials move ahead with their choice for the site of a new mental health crisis center.

The nearly 7-acre (2.8-hectare) property near Nebraska Medicine-Bellevue would be better used for private development because of its drive-by visibility, Mayor Rusty Hike told The Omaha World-Herald , adding that the city of Bellevue would lose out on potential revenue if the tax-exempt crisis center is built there.

“There’s got to be a better spot for it without hurting the city’s finances,” Hike said.

Hike became mayor after the November election and said development will be a focus of his administration.

“Bellevue has been notorious for not bringing in development and wasting our limited pieces of ground,” Hike wrote in a Facebook post about the crisis center’s location. “We cannot keep thinking this way.”

The Sarpy County Board selected the site last week. Officials hope the center will alleviate the burden on hospitals and the county jail by acting as a short-term emergency facility where people can voluntarily receive mental health and substance abuse assessments.

″(County leaders) have the right to buy the ground for whatever they’re working on,” Hike said. “It just seems like being a good neighbor or a good partner, they would involve us on the site location and get our thoughts.”

Hike encouraged residents who are concerned about the location to reach out to the board.

Sarpy County Board Chairman Don Kelly said he plans to meet with Hike on Thursday to discuss the issue.

“It’s bewildering that Mayor Hike would make those comments on (Facebook) and rally citizens to contact commissioners rather than just picking up a phone and calling us,” Kelly said.

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com