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By AP  /  
2016 August 18 - 10:29 am

Nebraska Community College Sets $369 Million Bond Vote

Measure Calls for Construction of New Downtown Campus

BEATRICE, Neb. (AP) — Voters in 15 southeast Nebraska counties will decide in November whether they want to fund a $369 million reconstruction plan for their community college district.

The Southeast Community College Board of Governors voted 10-1 to approve placing a bond measure on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The reconstruction plan calls for replacing all Beatrice campus buildings, overhauling the Milford campus and construction of a new campus in or near downtown Lincoln. The current east Lincoln campus would be focused on technical training. Learning centers would be built or otherwise placed in Falls City, Hebron, Nebraska City, Plattsmouth, Wahoo and York.

College President Paul Illich said the owner of a property valued at $100,000 would expect to pay $39 more in taxes each year. The 10-year project will let the college better address what officials see as two critical issues in southeast Nebraska: a lack of qualified workers in career and technical areas and the need for students to have an affordable option to a four-year degree.

Board member Don Reiman cited other bond issues and taxpayer burdens before casting the lone “no” vote.

“The Lincoln mayor is already talking about raising taxes to add more police officers,” Reiman said. “Beatrice Public Schools is talking about a bond issue to replace classrooms for the elementary (schools) and the preschool. Plus, Gage County has a tremendous judgment right now, and they have no idea where they're going to get the money.”

Reiman was referring a July 6 verdict that found the county liable for the wrongful convictions and incarcerations of six people who eventually cleared in the 1985 rape and killing of a Beatrice woman.

“It's a daunting proposition, people,” Reiman said of the bond measure. “I really have my doubts about it.”

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