On May 13th, 2008, supervisors in Hall County are enthusiastic about the idea of giving out keno money to help the relocation of the Nebraska State Fair to Grand Island. Officials also directed Chief Deputy Hall County Lawyer Michelle Oldham to study the county's ability to levy occupational tax on the business located at the Highway 281/Interstate 80 interchange at the business owners' request.
The president of Bosselman Incorporated, Chuck Bosselman, the president of Bosselman Incorporated commented that he and Bill Marshall, a motel business owner, recently talked about wanting to join the State Fair project. They want to make it official that they will not have any objection if the state officials will impose a sales tax on them. Bosselman Incorporated has a trucking business and travel center located at the Highway 281/Interstate 80 interchange.
County Board Chairman Bud Jefferies commented that the county has no legal jurisdiction to implement a tax on the sales of the businesses in the area. But it does have the power to levy the occupation taxes, like the one impose on food and beverage. This is being considered by the city of Grand Island to help the State Fair. Oldham commented that the county can also impose a lodging tax on motels and hotel but she personally believes that the county has already explored that option.
She said that she will study the possibility of a food and beverage tax, which would require a referendum and report back to the county board. No referendum is required for an occupation tax on the food and beverage establishments. Grand Island and Hall County Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Renee Seifert have done some study on the occupation tax and personally believe that it could be imposed on outside corporate areas. That would means that businesses in the state would be imposed with the tax but business establishments located in Grand Island, Alda Doniphan, Wood River and Cairo would be exempted to the tax.
Don Dunn of the local State Fair committee said that he is very happy that Mr. Bosselman has supported the plan because it will be a good source of additional income aside from the money that will be coming from the keno profits. Dunn, who is also the head of the Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors, commented that the budget that will be needed to relocate the State Fair to Grand Island is around $42 million. Aside from the money coming from the game of keno, the share of the local county is $8.5 million.
But Dunn said that the county supervisors are not obliged to come up with that amount of money. The money coming from the keno games will not be enough to ensure the continuance of the State Fair especially if the Grand Island community does not want to host the state fair.