The North Platte city council authorized a half-cent increase in the city sales taxes on Thursday, ending a short-but-significant drama that unfolded after voters approved the measure in the Nov. 8 election.

The council meeting was the third in short order to approve the tax increase for $52.5 million-plus in recreation projects.

The first vote was declared invalid, so a “do-over” first vote was held at a special meeting on Wednesday.

On Thursday, there were seven councilmembers present, and they all agreed to waive a requirement for another meeting. Then, a supermajority of six members approved the measure.

Councilwoman Donna Tryon, a critic of the project, was absent Thursday.

Due to absences and council members who remained opposed, a supermajority could not come together until Thursday.

Councilman Ed Rieker of ward 4 was absent at the two previous meetings. Rieker said Thursday that deciding how to vote on the issue had caused him more consternation than any previous vote.

He said he remains concerned about the long-term indebtedness the city will incur in the face of 8% inflation as well as projected energy shortages this winter in the Northeast, which would further harm the nation’s economy.

On the other hand, Rieker felt obliged to cast a yes vote, since the majority of North Platte voters have already authorized the project. So, he said decided to ratify the popular vote.

The other ward 4 councilmember, Mark Woods, also spoke briefly. Woods said since he voted “no” at the previous meeting, thereby making his opposition part of the record, and he would henceforth abstain from voting.

That left just enough votes for the required supermajority — Jim Nisley, Pete Volz, Ty Lucas, Brad Garrick, Brian Flanders and Rieker — to adopt the tax increase.

Another special meeting had been scheduled Monday, but it won’t be needed.

After the ballot measure was approved, the council came into the play again because the citizen’s initiative requires a new city ordinance. By state law, city ordinances must be read and considered three separate times, although the council can suspend the three-reading requirement, if a supermajority of six members agree.

Due to absences and no votes from council members Tryon and Woods, a supermajority could not come together until Thursday.

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