Bridgeport half-cent sales tax proposal fails; what happens next?

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BRIDGEPORT, Neb. The City of Bridgeport wanted to use a half-cent sales tax for economic development to expand their existing businesses while adding new ones but it did not pass in the election. The question for the community is what happens next?

Voters went to the polls to vote for or against the half-cent sales tax for economic development. It would increase the sales tax from 1% to 1.5%. 57% of the voters decided that they did not want the sales tax increase. The Mayor of Bridgeport says he was surprised with their decision.

“A little bit surprised,” said Jack Berg, Mayor of Bridgeport. “I understand what it would do for the community but on the other side, I know that people tend to be a little negative about an increase in taxes.”

Within Gering and Sidney, they have had their sales tax for over 10 years so with the voters going against the proposal, it sets the City of Bridgeport back a little bit.

“We are already 10 years behind other people in getting extra money to give incentive for economic development,” said Berg.

Bridgeport has been increasing their economic development with the addition of the new motel and the expanded Cenex gas station. If the City of Bridgeport received the extra .5% from a yes ballot, it would add even more opportunities to the area.

“The .5% would give us in the neighborhood an estimated around $125,000 a year to go towards either helping existing businesses expand, add employees or new businesses coming in,” explained Berg.

For this to be placed back into the ballot in the future, there is a two year waiting period. Before those two years are up, the city is aiming to help their residents be better informed of the positive uses of the sales tax increase even though they did host two town hall meetings for it.

If you have any ideas of partnerships or thoughts you can give the city, you can reach out to Mayor Jack Berg by email at jberg@cityofbport.com.