Grand Island residents and visitors will be paying more when they purchase local goods with the passage of a half-cent sales tax increase.
About 58 percent of the voters on Tuesday approved the increase. Unofficial results have 7,200 votes in favor and 5,291 against.
“There is an enormous sense of relief. I’m very happy with it,” said Mayor Jeremy Jensen of the passage.
The local sales tax will increase from 1.5 cents to 2 cents and go into effect in April. The tax will be applicable to all goods purchased in Grand Island, excluding groceries. The increase is expected to raise an additional $5.5 million annually over a 10-year period. Those funds will be used for improvements to streets, bridges, sidewalks and other infrastructure projects, as well as public safety equipment. The sales tax increase had the backing of the Grand Island International Association of Firefighters and a group called the Committee For Grand Island’s Future.