Sales tax ballot committee created meaningful wording

Monday, September 17, 2007

Regardless of our opinion of a city sales tax, we owe a debt of gratitude to the citizens who took the time to create a meaningful, responsive ballot question.

The McCook City Council is expected to approve the ballot wording and forward it to the voters Nov. 13.

In case you missed the weekend story, the proposal would offer three ballot questions to the electorate.

One would continue the current 1 cent tax for 10 years, when it could be renewed by the voters or allowed to die. Half of the proceeds would go toward reducing property taxes and half for improving, repairing or replacing the city's infrastructure.

The second would collect an additional half-cent sales tax to similar purposes plus the buy-down of water and sewer debt as well as fund an economic development program, and that tax would sunset in 10 years as well.

The third question meets the LB840 provisions for funding an economic development program with public funds.

The committee was wise in providing for a sunset clause, the lack of which might have spelled doom for a city sales tax.

What some will see as a shrewd move, coupling economic development with paydown of McCook's debt for new water and sewer treatment equipment, can more kindly be called an opportunity to cast a vote for the community's future.

New business and employment opportunities are vital if we expect our town to survive and thrive, and reduction of water expenses will put us in a better fiscal position to do so.

A sales tax makes sense for McCook, with its position as a trade center and the costs associated with maintaining that position.

Proponents have a couple of months to convince voters that the proceeds of the tax will be put to good use.

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