BYLINE: Scott Stewart
When Mayor Rita Sanders talks about bringing Chick-fil-A to Bellevue, she wants people to know that it’s short for “Chick-fil-A and other things.”
Following the advice of the Sarpy County Economic Development Corp., Sanders began a Facebook campaign last month to capture the attention of Chick-fil-A officials. She said the social networking push resulted in the company agreeing to do its due diligence to learn more about its options in Bellevue.
To capitalize on the recent attention, Sanders said, the City of Bellevue needs to be doing more to bring in new businesses. She wants some assistance for the city administrator, who works with the Chamber of Commerce on economic development.
“We’re poised to have some amazing growth in our city, and we need to take an active role in that,” the mayor said.
City Administrator Dan Berlowitz said an assistant would help him with day-to-day operations of the city as well as special projects and economic development.
Megan Lucas, president and CEO of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce, said the city administrator has a big job and an assistant would be appropriate. She said the more people who work together on economic development, the more success that could come from it.
“We’ve had a strong partnership with the city,” Lucas said. “It would make some things easier.”
Berlowitz has obtained examples of job descriptions from other communities, noting that Sarpy County, Papillion and La Vista have assistant administrators.
Once the job description is finished, the position would be advertised, and Sanders said she would move forward with hiring someone. The city already has money budgeted for the position. Berlowitz said he hoped to have someone in place later this year.
The position calls for an annual salary of $75,000, according to the budget.
Councilman Steve Knutson supports filling the position. “We’re getting too big where we can’t have one person trying to do everything,” he said.
Councilman Don Preister said he is open to the idea but he wants to see a job description to make sure it fits with the city’s priorities.
“We’ve got to be careful when we’re looking at so many needs at how we allocate those funds,” Preister said. “We have far more needs than we have funding for, so right now I have to have that position justified more than it is right now before I want to vote to actually put that person in place.”
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