Nebraska Primary Election: Juniata Voters to Decide on Sales Tax

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Voters in the Village of Juniata will decide whether or not to implement a 1% sales tax during Tuesday's election.

Juniata Village Board Chairman Marvin Clements says shortfalls in their street repair budget has been a problem the past few years.

"This year our budget was $90,000 and by the end of June we'll have $87,000 of it spent," says Clements.

Clements says the board decided that using a sales tax to generate revenue would be more fair than a property tax increase.

"More people pay sales tax than just the residents here in town, and people coming through from out of town use the streets so we thought well, it's a little bit here and a little bit there adds up," he says.

A few Juniata residents 1011 spoke with say they feel like they're being taxed enough, and don't think a 1% sales tax on Juniata's few businesses will make a difference. Some agree that there is a need.

"We need something, you know the income to keep the roads up because there's a lot of traffic from the feed yards and grain trucks and stuff going through here," says resident Marge Drake. "In the long run we need something to help."

Juniata has already had to put truck weight restrictions on some of their roads to try and keep them in better shape. Clements says that even if the sales tax passes now they wouldn't be able to implement it until later this fall, so they'll have to budget without those extra dollars this year anyway.

Clements says many Nebraska communities similar in population to Juniata also have 1% sales taxes, and says it could help Juniata at least make up the street repair shortfall. Based on 2000 Census population rankings and sales tax data from the Nebraska Department of Revenue, as of May 2012 cities and village similar in size to Juniata that have a 1% sales tax include Crofton, Bassett, Elgin, Exeter, Dodge, Hay Springs, and Sargent.

"We've gotten estimates anywhere from $12-20,000 a year, and it obviously kind of depends on the economic times," says Clements.

Residents will vote whether or not to implement the tax during Tuesday's primary.