The Lincoln County Commissioners agreed Monday to team up with the city to prioritize how an additional half-cent in sales tax revenue would be spent, if voters approve the increase.
The commissioners agreed to create a four-person committee with two members from the city and two from the county. The committee would recommend how the money would be prioritized.
The creation of the inter-local agreement meets a state requirement — that two taxing entities work together to prioritize how to spend the added revenue. That agreement must be reached before an election can be held to increase the local sales tax.
The city council is next. The council will consider the inter-local agreement on Tuesday evening when it meets (7:30 p.m. City Hall.) And, the council is also expected to approve a related action — the wording of the ballot measure to put before voters (see below.)
During the discussion with the commissioners, Commissioner Joe Hewgley stressed that voters have yet to weigh in on the tax. He said it is highly appropriate that voters make the decision.
The four-person committee would meet at least four times a year and be chaired by North Platte City Administrator Jim Hawks, who would not be a voting member.
Hewgley asked for just one change in the agreement – that three members of the committee would constitute a quorum, not two members, as the proposal first said.
That change was made and the board unanimously approved the agreement.
The council will also consider the inter-local agreement as well as the ballot language at the end of what is shaping up to be the longest council meeting in many months. The meeting will cover 30 separate agenda items, including insurance, streets, an annexation, and much more.
The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall, 211 W. Third.
The half-cent increase would generate about $2.5 million for the city each year and be assessed for 10 years.
Hawks said the sales tax increase is needed to pay for 13 specific street improvement projects in the city, at a total projected cost of $18.46 million. Without the sales tax increase, property taxpayers will have to pay the cost, he said.
According to the proposed ballot language, if the tax increase is approved, all revenues generated by the additional half-cent will be used for public infrastructure projects within the city, or voter-approved infrastructure projects within the city, or voter-approved infrastructure related to an economic development program, as defined in state law (NRS 18-2705.)
According to the inter-local agreement language, the money generated by the half-cent increase would specifically relate “to the cooperative creation, use and maintenance of public infrastructure, specifically public highways and bridges and municipal roads, streets, bridges and sidewalks; buildings and capital equipment used in the operation of municipal government; park infrastructure; redevelopment projects as defined in NRS 18-2705; and equipment necessary for the provision of municipal services for the joint and mutual benefit of the city and county.”