The Gering city council Monday evening approved a resolution that would place renewal of the city’s half cent sales tax earmarked for economic development on the November ballot. The sales tax, which funds the city’s L.B. 840 program, is scheduled to expire in 2019.
The voters would be asked to approve two questions on the ballot, the program and then the tax itself. The renewal period will be for ten years.
Mayor Tony Kaufman says the L.B. 840 funds have been vital for both Gering and Scottsbluff, and are one of the few weapons the cities have to promote business in their communities. Kaufman says he feels pretty confident the public is aware of how the funds are used, and the city will work with its local economic development partners to continue that education before November. He cited Fresh Foods and the Cobblestone Hotel as two businesses who have used L.B. 840 to open new businesses.
The council also approved over $70,000 in in Keno Committee recommendations to help local projects, including $60,000 requested by the Downtown Revitalization Committee to fund a stage at the Downtown Plaza. Kaufman says “the wheels are spinning” among staff and the Committee on how the stage can be used to bring people to the Downtown Plaza year-round.