2020 RCED Annual Report

2020 RCED Annual Report


  • Republic County Economic Development with Kansas Department of Commerce and Kansas Small Business Development Center assists with business planning, incentives, and program information and updates. Other assistance may begin at local workshops or small business training and continue from there as the business starts, expands, or is looking for succession planning help. Below are the number of businesses assisted in 2020 broken down by their stage. Business names not listed for confidentiality.
    • Planning / Start-Up Stage: 43 businesses
    • Expansion/ Growth Stage: 17 businesses
    • Succession Stage: 6 businesses
  • Notable business activity: David Blecha purchased Novak Realty building/business, HogeCrete opened at NCK Industrial Park, David’s Creations and Sheetz and Suds opened on the Belleville square, KYLE railroad plans to improve tracks through the county, Dr. Kurtis Klecan begins medical family practice, Fisher Rocks finalist for Coolest Things Made in Kansas, Kallman Office Suites buys former Arbuthnot Building, and US Wood Slabs opened at EST Automotive property west on HWY 36 from Belleville.
  • COVID-19 Assistance – RCED answered questions and marketed relief programs
    • Republic County – CDBG Loans
    • KDOL Unemployment Programs
    • SBA Covid-19 Relief Programs – PPP / EIDL
      • Hospitality Industry Relief Emergency (HIRE) Loan – KDOC
      • CARES Act programs
        • SPARK Phase One – $922,000 to County, city, non-profits, schools, hospital grants
        • SPARK Phase Two – Business grants in multiple in nine categories many awarded to local businesses
        • Kansas Dept. of Agriculture – Local Food System grants – awarded for three businesses
  • Revolving Loan Funds – Republic County Development Committee (RCD) – A separate business gap financing committee represented by local banks and county residents that administers three pools of funding. Once funds are repaid they are loaned again to a new business in the county. The revolving loan pool is promoted by RCED.
    • CDBG Covid-19 Relief Loans – 20 loans of $20,000 were loaned in the county. RCED assisted in answering questions and marketing the program.
  • Revolving Loan Application Assistance – RCED offers businesses that work with a qualified professional can receive half the cost of consultation up to $500 to prepare and submit a revolving loan application.
  • Belleville Industrial Park – North Central Kansas Industrial Development Corporation – Assisted five requests for information on the property. NCK Industrial is a separate non-profit that works with RCED, the City of Belleville, and Republic County to develop the property.
  • Neighborhood Revitalization Program – RCED worked with 11 taxing entities: cities, county, and schools to renew the NRP from 2021-2025 for the third time since 2011.
    • 7 projects in 2020 – 5 Residential, 2 Commercial projects
    • 2012-2020 – 89 projects valued at $12,844,420
      • Commercial – 21
      • Ag – 27
      • Residential – 26
      • Farm Residential – 15
    • 5-year rebate 95%, 90%, 70%, 40%, 20% for new construction <$25,000 increase in appraisal *2021-2025
  • Rural and Remote – Four people in the program receiving assistance. Five county people have been going through the certification or coding.
  • North Central Kansas Food Council – Luke serves on the board representing the county to promote local food options and assist local food production and expansion in the region.
    • Local Food Map – During Covid-19 promoted ten local food producers on our website and connected them with Shop Kansas Farms page of 140,000+ followers.
  • Kansas Healthy Food Initiative (KHFI) – shared with multiple projects in planning for grant/loan program
  • Rural Energy for America Program – shared with businesses planning to energy-efficient projects. KSU will provide free energy audits and grant application assistance
  • Kansas Nebraska Heritage Area Partnership – Luke is a Co-Chair representing Kansas on a non-profit board seeking to get national heritage area designation for 49 counties in NCK and SCK. Leveraging federal funding for heritage promotion and preservation
  • Nex-Generation Round-Up for Youth
    • 2020 – 12 businesses had internships available
    • 2021 – 9 business internships for this summer – $1,000 per intern from Nex-Gen.


  • E-Community Loan Pool – Administered by the Republic County Revolving Loan Committee with two other pools of funding.
    • Designated Level 1/A Community – $135,000 annual loan fund, $25,000 available for programs FY2021
    • 2020 – 3 loans totaling $99,500 for gap financing business projects.
    • 2014-2020 – 12 loans totaling $435,495 for gap financing (Heartland Gamebirds, David’s Creations, Courtland Building Venture, Bethany Swafford Farm Bureau, Cuba Cash Store, EST Automotive, Kansas World’s Fair, CPR Medical, Belleville Hometown Lumber, BellConn, Coles’ Appliance).
  • E-Community Grants -$3,851.50 granted in local programming in 2020 with YEC, Small Business Classes, Scholarships, and Business Networking.
  • Free Small Business Courses – 25 attended courses in (13) spring or fall (12) of 2020.
  • Launch & Grow Business Networking
    • Courtland – 25 attended tour at Depot Market, 301 Main, and other downtown businesses. Originally planned for spring 2020 but moved to summer.
  • Republic County Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge23 students participated from PVHS and RCHS
    • 11 teams competed locally – $1,750 in prizes to top six
    • Kansas Youth Virtual Entrepreneurship Challenge – T & H Sports Counseling – Halle Hartner and Tate Lapo earned 3rd place (no state event due to Covid-19)
    • Global Entrepreneurship Week Grant – Both PVHS and RCHS art classes received $125 to produce art featuring local entrepreneurs
  • Destination Creation Course – 1 business completed the course. Will continue to offer scholarships to the online course for $100 in 2021.
  • Tax Credits – $9,000 in tax credits donated in 2020. Yielding $6,750 for revolving loan funds in the county.
  • Rural Business Marketplace – KS SBDC / Network KS – Working with resource providers on succession business needs in our county.


  • Dane Hansen – Community Intern – Housing Marketing – Kyra Lampe was the RCED summer intern thanks to Dane Hansen:
    • Updating housing marketing by RCED
    • Interview housing stakeholders
    • Conducted housing demand survey
    • Promoted the NCRP – NCK Homeownership Program with the Republic Couty Home Expo which marketed twenty properties
    • Promoted Census 2020 surveys with direct mailer, newspaper, radio and online marketing
  • Dane Hansen Housing Programs – In December RCED applied for and was awarded $27,500 for three housing incentive programs in 2021: assisting in the removal of blighted property for development, move over incentive for current homeowners moving to elderly/low-income rentals, and paint the county grant.
  • North Central Regional Planning CommissionNCK Homeownership Pilot Program
    • 11 homes sold totaling $1,039,000 in value with $132,000 awarded to home buyers in the program between May and August.
    • RP Co. had access to 12 spots in the program providing $10,000 at 0% in down payment loan and $2,000 for a closing cost grant for homebuyers.
  • Rural Opportunity Zone Student Loan Repayment Program
    • $42,417.62 paid to 16 student loan repayment applicants in 2020 to county residents.
    • $21,208.81 comes from Republic County and is matched by the State of Kansas
    • 75% of the applicants indicate saved income goes towards housing
    • 10 people have completed the program
    • ROZ Working Group – Worked with KDOC staff and legislators on improving the program as it sunsets in 2021 and hopes to be renewed.
  • Local Grants – Provides non-profits and communities with information on RCCF, Dane Hansen, Duclos, and other grant programs.
  • Childcare – Childcare listings provided for free on our website for providers or those in-search-of.
    • Assisted Republic County Hospital with resources and research on childcare demand in the county.
    • Resources from Child Care Aware, KSU Research & Extension, and other program providers. Scheduling childcare provider workshop in 2021 that was postponed due to Covid-19
  • Kansas Sampler Foundation – Networks problems and solutions with KSF to help volunteer lead communities.

Marketing interns


  • Weekly Covid-19 Business Call – March – May hosted Zoom calls
  • Business Changes Covid-19 Webpage – Maintained list of business changes and updates
  • RCED Covid-19 Resources webpage – Updated weekly resources, programs, and webinars.
  • Business Impact Survey – Surveyed businesses to best address resources and information needed in during Covid-19
  • Office of Rural Prosperity – Assisted in NCK regional and state wide meeting
  • Republic County Home Expo – Promoted 20 homes for sale with realtors and private sellers in conjunction with the NCK Homeownership Program May – August.
  • KS Travel Guide – Worked with Belleville Chamber & Main Street on listings from Republic County for the annual travel guide.
  • Republic County Shopping Guide – Holiday listings of retailers, services, and places to support during Covid-19 and holidays.
  • Small Business Saturday – Distributed free materials from Shop Small campaign
  • Press releases – Sent to local papers, radio stations, and posted to our blog
  • Table Tents – 350 were distributed only from January – March due to Covid-19
  • Online Marketing
    • 43,614 pageviews for www.republiccountykansas.com in 2020
      • Most popular pages are Jobs, Homes, Rentals, Business Resources, and the Blog.
      • Republic County Home Expo page reached 31 states from 455 visitors with 1,462 pageviews. Marketing ads funded by realtors and private listings.
    • 562 subscribers to RCED E-mail Newsletter
    • 1,967 Facebook Followers
    • 793 Twitter Followers
    • 469 Instagram Followers

Statistics, analysis, graph, data, chart - free image from needpix.com


Republic County Statistical Abstract – KU Institute for Policy & Social Research – https://ipsr.ku.edu/ksdata/kcced/profiles/pdf/20157.pdf

County Trade Pull Factor Change – https://www.ksrevenue.org/prpullfactor.html

County20192020Percentage Change 19-20
Republic County, Kansas0.670.705%
Cloud County, Kansas0.970.970.2%
Jewell County, Kansas0.380.393.1%
Washington County, Kansas0.530.5910.6%
Smith County, Kansas0.720.743%
Ottawa County, Kansas0.320.3612.4%
Marshall County, Kansas0.920.941.8%
Mitchell County, Kansas0.991.0910.8%
Clay County, Kansas0.770.781.8%
Saline County, Kansas1.311.331.6%

Sales Tax Change 20019-2020 – https://www.ksrevenue.org/prsalesreports.html  

County20192020% Change
Republic County (2%)$1,117,882.30 $1,150,742.592.9%
Cloud County (1%)$1,389,403.80 $ 1,411,853.031.6%
Jewell County (1%)$207,223.60 $220,389.276.4%
Washington County (1%)$524,391.11 $589,214.5712.4%
Ottawa County (1%)$364,027.02 $396,576.548.9%
Mitchell County (1%)$1,026,984.33 $1,140,406.7711%
Clay County (1%)$1,006,873.17 $1,102,577.159.5%
Saline County (1%)$11,377,462.18 $11,480,579.630.9%

City Sales Tax Change 2019-2020 – https://www.ksrevenue.org/prsalesreports.html  

City20192020% Change
Agenda $3,944.04 $4,186.016.1%
Belleville $136,683.76$140,655.782.9%
Courtland $19,886.01 $20,453.792.9%
Cuba $9,528.40 $9,811.233%
Munden $5,908,08 $6,117.323.5%
Narka $ 5,592.93 $5,746.732.7%
Republic $8,066,98 $8,296.022.8%
Scandia $24,445.08 $25,261.063.3%

2020 Republic County Unemployment Rate – 2.6% December 2020 – www.dol.ks.gov

Change in age cohort from 2010-2016 sees a large increase in younger people returning in 20-24 and 30-34 age groups.
Data from the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship in 2018. More here.

Luke Mahin – Director
Republic County Economic Development

ABOUT: Republic County Economic Development Corporation (RCEDC) was formed in 1999 to help improve the economic diversity of Republic County. RCEDC was created by an interlocal agreement between the Republic County Commission and the City of Belleville.

RCEDC offers numerous services and resources including business recruitment and retention work, financial resources, site location selection assistance, marketing assistance, state resources and incentives, employment assistance as well as employee training resources.

The Republic County Economic Development Corporation will meet for the 2020 Annual Meeting on February 15th, 2021 to hold officer elections. Officers in 2020 were Jim Blecha Chairman, Mike Gritten Vice-Chairman and Mike Hadachek Treasurer. Other voting board members are Edwin Splichal, Adam Robertson, David Douglas, Tom Lesovsky, Jeff Thompson, Michael Couch, David-Paul Cavasos, Matt Dowell, Randy Hansen and Ex-Officio member Adam Anderson. Director is Luke Mahin and advisor Jenny Russell.

The RCED board is made up of twelve voting members. Three voting members from each of the three Republic County Commissioner Districts and one member appointed by the Republic County Commissioners, one for City of Belleville and one at large position.