In case there is an election, the North Platte City Council met in a special session Thursday and approved the wording of the Golden Spike/occupancy tax referendum on the May ballot.
The referendum issue might not appear on the ballot. It's legality has been challenged in court.
In case the issue does make the ballot, the council voted 8-0 and accepted the language. The wording, as it would appear on the ballot, is:
Shall Section 110.03 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of North Platte be amended to provide that occupation tax collected on hotel/motel accommodations be used to retire debt service on the existing loan from the United States Department of Agriculture used to construct the Golden Spike Visitors Center until 12:00 a.m. February 17, 2029? Taxes collected in excess shall be depositied to the City’s General Fund for property tax relief.
A vote “for” is a vote to amend the measure so excess motel tax revenue that remains the the Spike's construction loan payment is made, would go into the city's general funds.
A vote “against” will keep things as they are and excess motel tax revenue would continue to go towards operation of the Golden Spike.
The council’s vote also means that the city clerk is directed to certify the resolution to the county clerk/election commissioner by March 1.
Prior to the vote, third ward councilman Dan McGuire expressed concern that voters may see the words “property tax relief” on the ballot and jump at it, without considering the implications.
City Attorney Doug Stack said that the council’s vote would have no effect on the lawsuit concerning the validity of the initiative that the city filed last week.
“Hopefully, this will be decided before the election,” he said.
As of Thursday afternoon, no motions or answers had been filed concerning the city’s complaint that the Spike initiative violates state law.