Scottsbluff City Manager Nathan Johnson says council and staff are regrouping and looking at other creative sources of funding after the public defeated the LB 357 initiative on Tuesday’s ballot.
The proposal would have funded infrastructure improvements with an extra half cent of sales tax that would have raised an estimated $1.5 million for the city.
But for the second time the initiative failed and Johnson believes the mention of the aquatic center in the ballot language and the large figure to fund it had too many people thinking it was on the top list of priorities, possibly contributing to the LB 357 defeat.
Johnson told KNEB News. ,”From the council’s perspective, it appeared to me the infrastructure project was going to be first, the pathway next and then hopefully the aquatic center if all the different pieces of the puzzle aligned. But the feeling I am getting from talking to some of the constituents provides a different story.”
Johnson is hoping President Trump will propose a Federal infrastructure bill as promised. Johnson says the street projects the city has in mind will be “shovel ready” if that bill is introduced.
Johnson also said the city is taking steps to make sure having three new members on the city council won’t slow down city operations and planned projects.
The public elected Nathan Green, Terry Shaub and Jeannie McKerrigan while also turning out incumbent Jordan Colwell.
Johnson says he has a plan to educate the three new council members before they are sworn in December 3rd. Johnson said, “We are going to begin a process yet this month to make sure all of our incoming candidates are well versed with what is going on in the city, to make sure we are moving forward with these projects and not standing still. ”
Ray Gonzales and Scott Shaver will be the incumbents when the five get together December 3rd and reorganize as their first order of business.