Fairbury, four other communities working together in Rural Workforce Housing Fund

FAIRBURY, NE – The Fairbury City Council approved a Rural Workforce Housing Fund agreement between Beatrice, Geneva, Deshler and Auburn at Tuesday night’s meeting.

This group was organized previously by the Southeast Nebraska Development District (SENDD).

These five communities have pooled to create a revolving loan fund under the terms of LB 518, which was signed into law in 2017.

Of the $7 million made available for rural housing by the state, SENDD successfully secured $650,000. Fairbury committed $133,800 of LB 840 funding.

With SENND matching that commitment dollar-for-dollar, Fairbury has about $267,600 that can be utilized for housing initiatives in the city.

Fairbury City Administrator Collin Bielser was officially appointed to serve on the Joint Project Approval Committee on Tuesday. This committee will oversee the fund.

“The program we hope to continue by rolling the money over,” Biesler said. “This won’t be grants – this will be loans to get the groups’ money returned and rotated.”

Initial housing development funds will go to participating communities where developers build housing.  In future years, other communities in the region could apply for support from the loan fund.

Biesler says early on, communities are looking at shorter-term loans to developers of housing projects to turn over loan revenue more quickly.

“Mostly construction loans with builders and developers,” he said.

Other notes from Fairbury City Council

There was a change order request for the Fairbury Swimming Pool Project presented by Larkin Aquatics Tuesday. The proposed change order was to increase the value of the inspection and testing allowance in the contract.

This was in order to cover the costs overages occurred for the inspection and testing requirements of the project.

In addition, Larkin Aquatics requested the addition of a ridge vent to the bathhouse and filter building ($2300), a pool security system ($8334.34) and a public address system ($1786).

The total cost of this change order is $37,420.24. The change order was unanimously approved.

Despite the long stretches of winter weather, pool construction is still right on schedule and is still set to open on Memorial Day weekend.

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