PLATTSMOUTH – Mayor Paul Lambert had nothing but good things to say about the anticipated membership of Cass County, including Plattsmouth, into the Omaha-based Metropolitan Area Planning Agency.
“It’s a great step for the community, a positive thing,” Lambert said on Tuesday.
MAPA, as it’s frequently called, is a council of regional governments that addresses mutual and sometimes overlapping concerns on various issues like transportation, community and economic growth and development, air quality, and solid and hazardous waste concerns.
It currently serves five counties and their communities – Douglas, Sarpy and Washington counties in Nebraska, and Pottawattamie and Mills counties in Iowa.
That number should grow to six with the invitation of Cass County by week’s end, according to MAPA Executive Director Greg Youell.
That’s when a few remaining voting ballots from some of MAPA’s members are expected back, he said. The expected final vote should be in heavy favor of membership for Cass County, according to Youell.
He even expressed that confidence at the county’s Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday.
“We are excited to begin working with Cass County,” Youell told the board.
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The county’s dues for membership will be $11,740 per year, the board was told.
Board member Janet McCartney will represent the county at MAPA meetings.
To be in MAPA could help the county deal with some flooding issues, according to Youell.
“We can help administer grants,” he said, adding that MAPA is planning on hiring more staff in assisting communities dealing with floods.
Up until now the county has been in the Southeast Nebraska Development District (SENDD), based in Lincoln.
A bill introduced by Sen. Robert Clements of Elmwood, which would allow for the changing of boundaries of Nebraska planning and development districts, was approved by the Legislature and Gov. Pete Ricketts. That put Cass County into MAPA’s region.
“We were in SENDD, but we saw a greater opportunity to be in MAPA,” Lambert said. “Let’s reap some of the benefits MAPA can provide, such as planning and being in on things going on in the metro area.”