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Bushnell Voters To Decide Fate of Infrastructure Funding

Bushnell Mayor Steve Russell said the city is “very frugal” when it comes to street repairs. He said the city has a long-term plan to fix streets, sidewalks and gutters. All it needs is a new source of revenue to make that happen.

The city is putting a half-cent sales tax increase before voters next Tuesday. If approved, the city's sales tax would increase to 7.25%.

Russell said, “Motor fuel tax can't cover it all, you know. We can only get a little done each year and we're hoping that with the $80,000 to $90,000 that this will generate (each year) that we'll be able to maybe get some matching grants-more bang for our buck.”

The measure failed last April.

The mayor believes many voters were surprised when the measure appeared on the ballot. He said they might not have known the revenue would go entirely to infrastructure and not for salaries or administrative costs.

Beth Pierce said voters also might not know the revenue would fix more than pot holes.

She said, “I don't think the people of Bushnell are aware that this includes the sidewalks and the gutters. I think whey they realize that is part of it to, they'll see what the need really is and why it would benefit us to have the tax increase.”

Pierce manages M&B Furniture. She said Bushnell has a lot of people who walk for exercise. She said the condition of many sidewalks and streets, particularly brick streets, deters them.

Pierce said nobody likes a tax increase, but it is the only way to make the needed repairs. She said since more money is needed she can live with the increase. She said Bushnell's rate will still be lower than many nearby cities.

The measure would exempt food, prescription drugs, automobiles and farm equipment from the sales tax increase.