Senior center funding will go on ballot

Voters will be asked to approve a quarter-cent sales tax to fund a new senior center in November. The life of the tax, which is flexible and could extend a maximum of 30 years, could be used to fund other needs in Douglas County once the financial needs of the senior center have been met.

"The law allows a broader use, incorporating other entities like the preservation of agriculture," said County Manager Dan Holler. "We can restrict the proposal to one of those items or allow flexibility.

The plight of the senior citizen facilities has the community's attention now and it is safe to say matters and concerns will change in Douglas County over the 30-year life of a voter-approved increment of sales and use tax, Holler said.

"We need a funding mechanism to work with the agricultural community, library and parks and recreation," he said.

The enabling legislation for this type of use was adopted during the 2005 Legislature. State law authorizes use of the tax revenues for libraries, parks, recreational programs and facilities, services and facilities for seniors and for preservation and protection of agriculture where the population of the county does not exceed 100,000.

The newly-approved law does not structure this ballot question as advisory. The voters will decide this issue, said District Attorney Scott Doyle in a letter to county officials.

"If this question passes, we're looking at roughly a 30-year term," said Jim Baushke, chairman of the Douglas County Board of Commissioners. "My personal feeling is, we should maximize the use of this tax, give ourselves the flexibility to include all possible uses."

The measure would generate about $2.2 million annually for county needs, and about $800,000 would be used for the senior center. Another $5 million would be spent for the senior center's maintenance and other issues over the 30-year life of the tax, Holler said.

The tax increase of 1/4 of 1 percent would cost a taxpayer purchasing $10,000 worth of taxable goods about $25 a year.

If approved by voters, the county intends to sell bonds payable from these revenues, which are backed by the full faith and credit of the assessed value of Douglas County, according to county officials.

n Susie Vasquez can be reached at or 782-5121, ext. 211.


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