Riverfront development authority bill approved

A new economic development tool aimed at riverfront areas was given final approval May 3.

<a href='http://news.legislature.ne.gov/dist45' target='_blank' title='Link to the website of Sen. Sue Crawford'>Sen. Sue Crawford</a>
Sen. Sue Crawford

LB97, sponsored by Bellevue Sen. Sue Crawford, adopts the Riverfront Development District (RDD) Act.

Under the bill, metropolitan, primary and first- and second-class cities may create a riverfront development district and appoint an authority of five or more members to oversee and manage the district. Two or more cities with a contiguous riverfront could enter into a joint authority.

A city is required to set a cap on bonding and could limit an authority’s power by ordinance. In addition, an occupation or special assessment could not be imposed on the same property by both a riverfront development district and a business improvement district if the districts overlap.

An authority’s real property, income and operations are exempt from all taxation by the state or any political subdivision of the state. Local sales and use taxes will apply to purchases made by an RDD authority.

Among other provisions, an authority — in conjunction with a city — could:
• fix, charge and collect rents and fees;
• invest in instruments, obligations, securities or property;
• install pedestrian shopping malls or plazas and other facilities;
• construct, install and maintain boardwalks, barges, docks and wharves;
• develop, manage and coordinate public activities and events within the district; and
• issue limited obligation bonds secured by a pledge of any revenue of the authority or by mortgage of property owned by the authority.

The bill passed on a 43-0 vote.

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