City officials are asking for a half-cent city sales tax increase, citing the need to improve several streets, including the downtown area, and other projects.
Mayor Dwight Livingston said upgrades are also needed at the Rec Center, recreational trails, ball fields, the skate park, Cody Pool and an additional splash pad could be installed.
Voters will be asked to approve the increase on the November ballot, if the city council agrees to the ballot issue, as expected on Tuesday night.
The council meets at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall, 211 W. Third. The sales tax increase is late on the agenda.
The half-cent increase will provide about $2.5 million for the city each year and be assessed for 10 years, Livingston said Tuesday at a press conference.
It would increase the total sales tax in North Platte from 7 to 7.5%. The state gets most of that. The city currently gets 1.5% of the tax, which would increase to 2%.
City Administrator Jim Hawks said 13 specific street improvement projects are needed, including repairs to Philip Ave. from Jeffers to Tabor — a $2 million project.
A preliminary study to renovate the 105-year-old downtown streets and utilities is underway, and costs could reach $3.2 million, according to projections. Also, the tail race bridge on Halligan Drive needs a new deck, helping smooth the way for travelers, Hawks said.
The new Tru hotel joins the La Quinta on Halligan Drive, with another hotel under construction west of La Quinta. And, more hotel rooms are envisioned in what is now referred to as the Haneborg development north of the D&N Event Center. That project has yet to come before the council.
Hotel visitors are currently the “growth industry” of the city. Hawks said the city will have another 400 motel rooms from the Tru, the hotel under construction, and Haneborg’s development. So, visitors who dine, shop and pay sales taxes in North Platte would contribute to infrastructure improvements — costs that are currently paid by property taxpayers.
Livingston said it is important to “do everything we can to make our city attractive to visitors.”
Hawks said that street improvement projects are currently financed by bonds, and bonds can only be paid from property taxes by state law, he said.
Hawks said numerous intersections need repairs. Also, Lakeview Blvd. needs to be improved from A St. north to Front St.
“Many other communities are using this mechanism to improve their infrastructure and amenities and we are asking our people to allow us the same opportunity,” Livingston said.
Needed street improvements:
Re-deck the Tailrace Canal Bridge on Halligan Dr. — $250,000.
Intersection repairs (asphalt to concrete) at Francis/Oak; Leota/Oak; B/Oak; Fourth/Mills; Ninth/Willow. — $500,000.
Repair and resurface Philip from Jeffers to Tabor — $2 million.
Lakeview from A to Front — $850,000.
Industrial Ave. from Philip south for 1,950 feet — $850,000.
Repair Francis St. from Oak to U.S. 83 — $450,000.
Concrete on E. Seventh St. from U.S. 83 to Poplar — $1 million.
Resurface Walker Rd.from U.S. 83 west to Willow, and from U.S. 83 east to Canal — $1.160 million.
Reconstruct Front St. from Willow to Vine, and from Chestnut to Silber — $1.2 million.
East Fourth from Jeffers to Bicentennial Ave. — $4.5 million.
E. Eighth from Poplar to Roosevelt. — $2.5 million.
Downtown, Fifth St. from Jeffers to Chestnut, Dewey St. from Fourth to Front. — $3.2 million.
Total — $18.46 million