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Scottsbluff council considering another run at infrastructure sales tax hike

Scottsbluff council considering another run at infrastructure sales tax  hike
Scottsbluff City Manager Nathan Johnson (Mooney/RRN/KNEB)

The Scottsbluff city council is considering another run at placing an additional half cent sales tax before voters to fund infrastructure improvements.

During Wednesday’s budget workshop the council instructed staff to prepare language they can review before deciding to place such a ballot measure on the November general election ballot. A similar attempt in the 2016 primary failed by a 959 to 791 margin.

Declining sales tax revenues, the pending loss of major retailer Herbergers, and a slumping ag economy are creating serious problems for the city balancing its general fund budget.

City Manager Nathan Johnson .says the the city is trying to generate additional revenue for the general fund, so they have the money to provide the infrastructure to retain the jobs they current ly have and attract new business to the region.

The tax would raise an estimated  $1.8 million a year, and council members discussed a ten year time frame in the language before it would sunset or be reconsidered. The council emphasized they needed ballot language that would be specific as to what the money would be used for, including repairs to major streets in the community and replacement of aging water lines.

Johnson says as he looks to balance the budget, vacant positions will continue to remain unfilled, so Scottsbluff will continue to operate without a city planner or parks director.

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