Half-cent sales tax proposition fails; what happens next?

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SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. The City of Scottsbluff and the Scottsbluff Community Redevelopment Authority wanted to use a half-cent sales tax to pay for improved roads, aquatics center and even bike paths, but it did not pass in yesterday's vote. The question now is, what happens next?

Voters went to the polls to vote for or against the half-cent sales tax. It would increase the sales tax from 1.5% to 2%. 60% of the voters decided that it was not for them or this community. Officials within the City of Scottsbluff were surprised at the decision.

“We at the city were hoping that we had a well-rounded proposal for the voters,” said Nathan Johnson, City Manager for Scottsbluff. “However, in listening to the voters, clearly that wasn’t as well-rounded as we anticipated.”

Many voters say they would have voted for this proposal if the aquatics center wasn’t involved. The issue that comes to play is the other water amenities are either getting older or too costly with repairs. The city feels that a new water source is important for this area.

“Looking into the overall needs of the community, especially with retaining the individuals that are located here, aquatics are definitely a need that’s going to have to be addressed in point in time,” explained Johnson.

Since the city was expecting a yes for the proposition and instead received a no, they have to think of other ways to fund these projects.

“Looking at those projects, we are just going to have to get creative and come up with additional funding sources to complete those projects,” explained Johnson.

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 make the next proposition better-rounded to aim towards the residents and their needs.

If you have any ideas of partnerships or thoughts you can give the city, City Manager Nathan Johnson says you can reach out to him by email at njohnson@scottsbluff.org or any of the elected officials.