City of Beatrice Gauging Sales Tax Interest, to Finance Water Park, Fire Station Projects

BEATRICE –  City of Beatrice officials are seeking local citizens opinions on the potential of an additional sales tax, that could produce revenue for a bond issue, for a fire station or Big Blue Water Park improvements.

Recently, questions on the topic were included as part of a survey, mailed with utility bills.  City Administrator Tobias Tempelmeyer says responses to the survey are still being collected, and they will be tabulated later.   Tempelmeyer says the goal is to determine if using sales tax revenue to meet some community needs is an option citizens might support.

Currently, the city has a one-and-a-half-cent local sales tax.  By law, the city could add as much as a half-cent, with voter approval.  Tempelmeyer says one-half cent produces about $600,000 in annual revenue.

:11                  “it would sunset”

Several years ago, city officials held committee-level discussions about a potential new fire station to replace the current fire headquarters, now located in a cramped lower level of the municipal auditorium.   More recently, city council members examined draft proposals for possible upgrades to the Big Blue Water Park, located at 12th and Scott Streets.

Tempelmeyer and the city’s public properties director recently met with an engineering consultant on potential water park improvements, and that will come before the council again, in the near term.

:15                  “city council, again”

Tempelmeyer says resuming discussions about the prospect of a new fire station will draw upon prior talks, but those were held several years ago.

:21                  “new fire station”

One potential location for a new fire station is the current Dempster Manufacturing building, which city officials hope to demolish, because of its condition.

:11                  “looking at, as well”

If there is community support for using sales tax revenue to back a bond issue, Tempelmeyer was asked if the city could accomplish both a new fire station and water park improvements, with a single plan.

:16                  “type of project”

In the past, a bond issue for a new jail and two school bond issues in the Beatrice area have been rejected by voters, but those were issues backed by property tax revenue, not sales tax.

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