Voters will have to decide at the Nov. 4 general election whether or not to have a .005 percent sales-and-use tax increase in order to fund a new $5 million aquatic center in Nebraska City.
Mayor Jack Hobbie said that equates to 50 cents per every $100 spent on taxable goods or services.
During Monday night's meeting, the City Council amended the language in Resolution 2642-14 about the new aquatic center that will be on the ballot.
The council voted to change the original $5.5 million total cost to a $5 million cap, and to eliminate the sales tax increase once the bond is paid in full.
According to the resolution, the sunset clause, or final term that the bond must be paid, can't exceed 14 years.
"As soon as those bonds are paid off, the taxes will go away," said Swimming Pool Let's Act to See it Happen Aquatic Advisory Committee Acting Chairman Phil Silvius.
Silvius approached the council to address the S.P.L.A.S.H. Committee's concerns about a reasonable cost for the facility and to terminate the sales and use tax when the bond is paid.
The S.P.L.A.S.H. committee met last week to go over the projected costs for the facility. Silvius said the total price would be $5 million for the project.
"It's the opinion, the consensus of the committee, that the $5.5 million is a little aggressive. We'd like to see that number closer to $5 million," Silvius said. "I think we all know that there's a need for a new facility. It's been two years in the making to get to this point."
City Administrator Joe Johnson had an engineer's estimate of about $5.2 million for the construction of the aquatic center, new lift station and softball field lights and the relocation of the tennis courts. Johnson advised that council members need to establish the correct amount in the resolution so that nothing in the construction of the facility has to be left out due to lack of funds.
"It's a great concern, at least from my desk, that if you approve the $5 million for this project then you're going to have to start cutting back drastically, and if that happens then we may not get a lazy river … we may not get things that are being imaged right now in the public," he said.
"I think that the tax payers would rather hear a solid number," Finance Commissioner Mark Mercer said. "If we have to cut the lazy river, then so be it."
Swim team President Tammy Partsch invited swim team members and their families to the meeting to show their support for a new swimming pool. Partsch said the new pool could bring in more swim team participants.
"Whatever the number is … I honestly believe that the voters don't care at this point. They want a new pool. They want a pool that works well. They want a pool that has all of the features that every other pool around here has, and then some, so that they don't go to Auburn twice a week with their grandkids," Partsch said. "I believe firmly at this point, whatever the number is that you put out there, the voters will say, 'Great as long as we get the best pool in the area.'"
The council also approved Resolution 2643-14 to adopt new fees for the Nebraska City Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department. The new fees are:
- Non-emergency Basic Life Support services currently are $500. The new fee will be $600.
- Emergency BLS services currently are $660. The new fee will be $750.
- Non-emergency Advanced Life Support services currently are $790. The new fee will be $850.
- Level 1 emergency ALS services currently are $820. The new fee will be $925.
- Level 2 emergency ALS services currently are $870. The new fee will be $1,100.
- Mileage currently is $17. The new fee will be $20.
- Currently there isn't a feel for assess and release services. The new fee will now be $100.
The council tabled a request from Brett Gay and Jason Esser to purchase the Deer Trail Subdivision. Gay and Esser offered to pay $25,000 for the property. The council didn't feel the amount was high enough considering the property was appraised at $108,000, and a $36,000 purchasing offer was made to the council in April. Hobbie and Street Commissioner Dean Handy scheduled to meet with Gay and Esser at a later date to discuss their offer and plans further.
Other items the council approved were:
- Resolution 2641-14 for an $18,820 loan/grant to Fox Center LLC, located at 424 Central Ave., for the purchase of a fire suppression system;
- A request to close off 18th Street, south of 4th Corso, for a block party/charitable event for the Food Bank from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 13;
- A Special Designated License for Mac's Creek Winery & Vineyards of Lexington to serve alcohol at the Fox Center Sept. 20 and 21;
- And for Nebraska City Utilities to pursue in supplying natural gas to the Village of Douglas.
Members also amended Section 521.01 in Ordinance 2946-14 regarding the zoning of signage along 11th Street South for the relocation of St. Mary's Hospital.
The next city council meeting will be Sept. 2 at 6 p.m. in the William F. Davis Room in City Hall, located at 1409 Central Ave.