McCOOK, Nebraska -- A bill prioritized by Nebraska Sen. Brad Ashford earlier this month drew support from City Manager Jeff Hancock during the McCook Area Chamber of Commerce legislative conference call, Thursday morning. Hancock said that LB 357 provided an opportunity for additional sales tax that could be used for joint projects between entities such as the City of McCook and Red Willow County. "The beauty is you could do a joint project between the city and county and it would have to be voter approved," said Hancock. Hancock thought the bill might provide a platform for the city and county to work together on projects, as well for joint projects with entities such as McCook Community College.
Sen. Mark Christensen said the bill would likely make it to the floor for debate and he believed the votes were very close on it. "I'm not sure why people would filibuster that one since there is a local vote requirement with it, but there has been talk of that," said Christensen.
Hancock said that as he understood it the bill was project specific and included a sunset provision that removed the additional sales tax once the project was completed. Sen. Christensen replied that he thought there was a lot of misinformation about the bill out there and said it would probably garner more support and reduce concerns about it if word got out.
According to the bills statement of intent, LB 357 intends to authorize cities to impose an additional sales and use tax of two percent and sets usage guidelines for the revenue. The bill requires a public vote before the additional sales tax can be implemented.
Several amendments to the bill are pending, one requires an interlocal agreement between the city and county or a joint public agency agreement between the city and another public agency, others set the additional tax to terminate after bonds are paid or ten years has been reached.