EDC, pool OK'd

Friday, November 9, 2018

CAMBRIDGE, Neb. — At the polls Tuesday, Cambridge voters OK’d two propositions dealing with economic development and one special bond election to pay for swimming pool improvements.

A fourth issue, a special sales and use tax question also dealing with the swimming pool, was also approved by voters, but the language of the question has created some confusion, and city officials are working through the process to determine their next steps.

— Proposition 1 deals with the continuation of the city’s existing 1 percent sales and use tax. This proposition passed 278 to 138. The tax will automatically terminate in 15 years unless it is extended by the voters.

— Proposition 2 allows the city to appropriate $183,000 per year from local sources through the year 2036 to continue the city’s Economic Development and Water Fund Support programs. This proposition passed 311 to 113. The goals of the economic development plan are to support the development of new jobs and job retention. The water fund support program subsidizes increasing financial needs for water system construction and operation.

— The success of the special bond election question allows the city to issue bonds not to exceed $1,250,000 to finance the costs of building, equipping and improving the existing city pool and related facilities, and to levy a special tax to pay for interest, principal and premiums on the bonds. This issue passed 234-189.

— Cambridge Mark Harpst said the language of the ballot regarding a new special sales and use tax is what has caused some confusion. Voters were asked whether they wanted to impose a one-half cent sales and use tax (in addition to the city’s existing 1 1 /2 percent sales and use tax) and involved an interlocal agreement with Cambridge Public Schools in municipal projects such as the pool. The issue passed, 230-194.

However, Harpst said city officials had amended the ballot question to remove the interlocal agreement between the city and the schools to pay for municipal projects including the city’s swimming pool. “In the amended ballot, the school is not a partner in the special sales and use tax project,” Harpst said. Securing an interlocal agreement was not required before the vote, he said.

Harpst said the amended question was submitted to the county in a timely manner before the printing of the ballots for the election, but, somewhere along the time, the ballot language was not changed, and it was not noticed until absentee ballots went out.

Harpst said city officials are in the process of determining what comes next to correct the situation.

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