City council authorizes higher sales tax, consider $$ for rink
Three city council meetings instead of one could be held this week to add another half cent to municipal sales taxes.
Council will discuss the matter at its regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Since the tax increase requires a change in city ordinances, it must be considered three times unless the council agrees to suspend the rules.
If there are not enough votes to suspend the required three readings, two special meetings will be held, one on Wednesday and one on Thursday. City Clerk Angela Gilbert briefed the media Monday afternoon on the additional meetings.
The half-cent increase in municipal sales tax should be used to improve recreation in the city. It was approved by 65% of voters. In the more than $50 million project, the existing recreation center will be renovated and expanded; the Cody Park outdoor swimming pool will be renovated and a wading pool will be added; and the city skate park will be moved and improved.
The project was backed by the North Platte Chamber of Commerce, which organized a petition to put the issue on the ballot after council was split on the issue. The Chamber then bought numerous advertisements to promote it.
In other regular business Tuesday, the board is expected to approve $50,000 from the Quality Growth Fund to help launch an outdoor skating rink at Centennial Park. Organizers Blu McGrath and Tyler Sexson say the grant will earn them about $172,000 of the $250,000 they need to get the rink up and running this winter. They told the Quality Growth Fund’s advisory board on Friday that they plan to operate to some degree.
The rink would be located just east of the ball diamonds and south of the concession stand near the center of Centennial Park. It is scheduled to open on December 12 and close on February 27. Then the rink would be removed and stored for the summer. It can be loaded onto a trailer, organizers said.
The advisory committee approved the request on the condition that it be a one-time grant, with no more grants to help the rink meet annual expenses.
In other business on Tuesday, the council will consider:
• Addition of a second subdivision to Lakeview Estates within the city limits.
• Approval of a contract with Rubicon Global, a consulting company in the city’s waste treatment/sanitation services. City officials say Rubicon has already monitored and reported under a pilot agreement, which has made sanitation services more efficient.
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