City Administrator outlines plans at Rotary meeting

Julie Davis
Nebraska City News-Press

Lou Leone has a simple plan for Nebraska City: Make the community better than when he found it.

Leone, who joined the city staff in December 2020, outlined the city’s future plans during the Sept. 1 meeting of the Nebraska City Rotary Club.

One plan Leone would like to see Nebraska City put into action is an equipment reserve plan, where a small amount of money is set aside over time to purchase future equipment.

“It keeps things nice and level,” he said.

Leone touched on the generosity of the city’s community foundations during his presentation. He said his fellow administrators are “stunned at how much care the foundations have put into Nebraska City.”

One of the things Leone would like to see added to Nebraska City is more housing, and he told his audience that the city may be able to use some of the America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds from the federal government for land purchases and infrastructure improvements that would make home building more affordable for Nebraska City area developers.

He said other projects, including the trail plan expansion and the sports complex development, are coming along nicely.

Using an agricultural analogy, Leone said the city is “prepping the field for the community to grow” without losing its heart.

“We want to try to do some managed growth,” he said, adding that he would like to see the city’s population rise to between 9,000 and 10,000.

“This is a wonderful community,” he said. “It’s the kind of community you strive for as a city administrator.”

Before coming to Nebraska City, Leone served as a city administrator in Wisconsin and Kansas. He has also studied law and worked as a paralegal in Chicago before beginning his studies in city administration.

His special interest is in tearing apart and rebuilding budgets to the benefit of the community and its taxpayers.

He told club members he took apart a budget in Kansas and brought the nearly bankrupt community to a point where it had $2 million in reserves by the time he left a few years later.

During the Sept. 1 meeting, the club inducted three new members: Dr. Michael and Joanna Evans of Peru State College, and Betsy Sharp of Morton Place.

The Nebraska City Rotary Club meets at noon Wednesday at Valentino’s, 1710 S. 11th.

Upcoming speakers are scheduled as follows:

The crew of the submarine, USS Nebraska, tomorrow (Sept. 8);

Photographer Jim Wickless, Sept. 15;

Gregg Robke of ESU 4, Sept. 22; and

Kelly Bequette and Doug Grimm, Sept. 29. 

Cole Sharp is the club president. Call (402) 873-0530 for more information.

Nebraska City City Administrator Lou Leone, who came to the community in December 2020, was the featured speaker at the Sept. 1 meeting of the Nebraska City Rotary Club.