GOTHENBURG, Neb. – Ballots were mailed this week to registered voters of Gothenburg for a special election on an LB 840 economic development program. The vote, which is being conducted by mail-in ballot, would utilize the 0.5% city sales tax that has already been approved to fund the program. Completed ballots must be mailed or hand delivered to the Dawson County Election Commissioner (County Clerk) or dropped off at the Gothenburg Public Library by
Nate Wyatt, President of the Gothenburg Improvement Company, stresses this vote is not for a new tax. “We already have the tax for economic development. This vote is to approve an LB 840 Plan for how those funds are used.” Even if the vote fails, Wyatt says this economic development sales tax would still be collected and used for those purposes. “There is really no downside to approving this measure. The only change will be more structure and guidance on how the funds are used,” Wyatt said.
Wyatt and local attorney Colten Venteicher said that while they have heard mostly positive feedback from the public, there is still some confusion surrounding this special election. There have been discussions by City officials to pass a sales tax for a splash pad or the redevelopment of the Lake Helen area, but Venteicher wants voters to understand there is a distinction. “A splash pad would certainly be beneficial to Gothenburg, but that’s not economic development. We are dealing with two separate issues, and this vote would not raise taxes.”
Instead, Venteicher said the LB 840 program would allow the City to use the funds to finance workforce or low-to-moderate income housing projects, workforce training programs, or construction of new buildings. “Right now, it would be difficult, or in some cases impossible, to use the economic development funds for these purposes.”
Gothenburg residents are urged to visit GothenburgLB840 on Facebook or contact Venteicher at 308-537-7161 if they have questions.