Ralston Facing Tax Hikes To Pay For Arena

RALSTON, Neb. (CelebrityAccess) — Ralston City officials are looking at new taxes and tax diversions to help the city cover upcoming bond payments and other obligations incurred in the construction of the Ralston Arena.

According to the Omaha World-Herald, The Ralston City Council is considering a number of measures, including a property tax increase of 34%, a new 2.5 percent tax on restaurants, raising food and beverage prices at the venue and charging for VIP parking at the arena.

The City Council also voted to transfer $1.2 million from its keno lottery to cover last year's bond payment. According to the World-Herald, the fund is intended to finance smaller community improvement projects, or to provide property tax relief.

Ralston Mayor Don Groesser conceded that the property tax in particular would be a painful increase for taxpayers, but said he hopes the increase would only be necessary for one or two years.

First opened in 2012, the 4,600 capacity city-managed arena cost $37.8 million to build, substantially over the original projected budget of $25 million. Originally pitched by Mayor Don Groesser as a way of creating jobs, the city is now on the hook for $3.5 million in debt payments every year. – Staff Writers