Gering council kills cell phone tax ordinance

The Gering city council Monday night killed an ordinance that would place a 3% occupation tax on telephone and telecommunications companies.

Council members initially said the proceeds from the tax, estimated to be around $60,000, would be used to pay the city's portion of the cost for upgrades to the county's enhanced 911 system. But council member Larry Gibbs said the tax wasn't needed because the council had already earmarked $50,000 toward the upgrade, and only needed another $30,000 at most to meet the county's request for this year.

Gibbs and other members of the council also said they were uncomfortable with the way the ordinance was written. Gibbs said the ordinance had "ambiguous language" that needed simplifying.

Mayor Ed Mayo maintained the debate was a a matter of safety and having assets available for continued 911 enhancement requests from the county. But council member Don Christensen said the council had not given enough thought to the full impact the tax would have on people and businesses who rely on their phones.

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The council also approved designating a group headed by Sal Munoz as the new operators of the Gering golf course restaurant and approved entering into contract negotiations with the group. The council also received word from the state they have now met all the requirements to received a $465,000 grant to help fund construction of affordable homes near McKinley school



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