Proposed occupation tax to be discussed again by Gering council

The Gering city council Monday night will remove from the table the first reading of an ordinance that would place a 3% occupation tax on telephone and telecommunications companies. Council members say the proceeds from the tax, estimated to be around $60,000 annually, would be used to pay the city's portion of the cost for upgrades to the county's enhanced 911 system.

The council has already faced opposition from telecommunications representatives who say the idea would just be a backdoor way of placing the tax on cell phone and land line users. Benjamion Backus with Actions Communications also maintained the ordinance needed language clarifications because as proposed it was possible services other than phones, for example DISH network customers, could be taxed.

Councilman Dan Smith said the increase would mean people like him with close to half a dozen phones would see a substantial increase in their bill. Matt Larsen with Vistabeam said the tax would be a logistics nightmare for billing, adding costs and possibly increase customer rates.

The council will also consider formally entering into contract negotiations with a group headed up by Gering businessman Sal Munoz to operate the Monument Shadows Golf Course restaurant.

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