The city council agreed Monday to team up with Lincoln County to prioritize how an additional half-cent in sales tax revenue would be spent, should voters approve the increase in November.
The council approved an inter-local agreement with Lincoln County, as well as the ballot language, near the end of consideration of 30 agenda items.
If voters approve the tax increase, two representatives of the city and two from the county would meet to prioritize how the extra money would be spent, under the inter-local agreement. By state law, two local government bodies must agree to collaborate before the question can be put on the ballot.
The half-cent increase would generate about $2.5 million for the city a year and be assessed for 10 years, City Administrator Jim Hawks said.
In response to a question from Councilman Martin Steinbeck, Hawks said the tax could not continue after 10 years without the majority approval of the council and the voting public.
Hawks said 75% of the sales tax increase would pay for 13 specific street improvement projects at a total cost of around $18.46 million.
Without a sales tax increase, property taxpayers will have to pay for those street improvements, he said.
The other $7 million or so that the tax is expected to generate could go for parks and recreation improvements, Hawks said.
Leland Poppe, the chairman of the city’s wellness committee, said the $7 million could be leveraged to match grants that are available, and be enough to significantly improve the city recreation center as well as hike-bike paths.
The council’s approval was unanimous.
After the meeting, City Clerk Angela Gilbert said it was the most agenda items she could remember in the 18 years that she’s worked there.