The City of Gering appointed four members of the city council along with Mayor Tony Kaufman to the Community Redevelopment Authority (CRA), only to terminate the current agreement between the CRA and the city in the following agenda item during Monday night’s six-minute meeting.
Councilmembers Dan Smith, Pam O’Neal, Julie Morrison and Cody Bohl were appointed to the CRA alongside Kaufman.
According to the meeting agenda, the CRA was formed in 2016 and was needed in order to increase a sales tax to a rate greater than 1.5%, which is required by state law. However, City Administrator Pat Heath told the Star-Herald, the increase in sales tax did not pass in 2016, which means the agreement “basically terminates itself,” but it was officially terminated, which is what the council did Monday night.
The CRA was still appointed new members, though because the half-cent sales tax increase will be on the 2022 primary ballot in May, according to meeting documents.
“Once you set that committee, you have to have the initiative basically on the ballot within the year,” Heath said. “…There’ll be quite a bit of information out on that soon.”
Heath said the extra sales tax would be used toward funding infrastructure projects like water main replacement, sewer main rehabilitation replacement and repaired roads.
“Our water mains are 100 and 105 years old now. … The same with our sewer mains, they were all installed in that 1917 to 1928 period. They’re both in poor shape,” Heath said. “…We’ve had a plan together and (with) the current plan if we don’t pass this, we’re looking at probably roughly (2038) to (2040) to complete replacing our water mains that are right now 105 years old. So what do we got — another 18 years? So we’re going to have water mains in that 122-year-old range or 123-year-old range and they’re not going to last that long.”
If the sales tax increase passes in May, a new agreement between the city and the CRA will likely be put in place, meeting documents stated.
In other business, the city council unanimously approved (7-0, councilmember Troy Cowan was absent) city officials for various responsibilities, including updating the authorized signers for designated financial institutions, appointing Doug Parker to the MEAN Board of Directors and the NMPP’s Member Council, appointing Nathan Flowers as the Gering Fire Department Certifying Official for the NE Volunteer Emergency Responders Incentive Act Tax Credit and appointing Casey Dahlgrin as the street superintendent for the purpose of the 2022 Incentive Payment from the Nebraska Department of Transportation.
The next regular meeting will be Monday, Jan. 24.