Voters decide to increase GI city sales tax by 1/2%

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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) Grand Island voters Tuesday approved a 1/2% increase in the city's sales tax.

That will make the city's sales tax a total of 2% on every sale in city limits except for food purchases.

The unofficial vote count from the Hall county election commissioner's office was 7,200 votes in favor of the tax, 5,291 against, a margin of 58% to 42%.

Grand Island city councilman Roger Steele, who was running unopposed for mayor of Grand Island, said he would allow the city's new wheel tax to expire in September 2019 if the sales tax increase passed.

"The wheel tax is just a flat tax that is applied to all vehicles regardless of their value, but I'm mostly against it because it puts a tax on a necessity. Most people need a vehicle to come and go and to get to work," Steele said.

The Grand Island Professional Firefighters favored the sales tax increase.

City officials estimate the sales tax increase will bring in $5.5 million in revenue.

The city council will have to create an ordinance for the new sales tax and submit it for certification through the state. City Administrator Marlan Feguson says he estimates the sales tax to take effect around April 1st.

There is a possibility residents will have to pay both the wheel tax and sales for a number of months before the wheel tax is set to end.