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City of Ellis votes to keep its portion





ELLIS -- The Ellis City Council voted 6-0 Monday night in its regular meeting to keep all of its share of revenue generated from a proposed county sales tax, if it is approved by voters in a May 14 special election.

It is the second time the council voted on whether to enter into an interlocal agreement with the county. On April 1, city leaders were deadlocked, with two voting to give half of the city's share of sales tax revenue to the county, two voting against and two abstaining. At the time, the motion was thought to have passed. Later, it was found the motion should not have been approved, and it was recommended the council vote again.

Ellis would receive approximately 5.7 percent of revenue generated from the sales tax.

The tax would go toward construction of an EMS/rural fire building as well as expansion and renovation to the county jail, Law Enforcement Center and courthouse. The project would cost $12.3 million, with total cost $14.3 million after interest.

Ellis Mayor Lyle Johnston said after Monday's meeting the council heard from Ellis residents their preference about the sales tax.

"We do hope that it passes because nobody -- and that was a strong voice from the public -- (doesn't) want it on the property taxes. Hopefully, it does pass."

Ellis is the second incorporated city in the county to vote to keep its share of tax revenue. Schoenchen voted last month to keep its share, 0.04-percent. Victoria has decided to wait until after the election on whether to keep its share of tax revenue, which would be 3.1 percent.

The city of Hays already has agreed to give all of its share of tax revenue, which would be 48 percent. The county's share is 43 percent.

Johnston admitted Ellis voters could feel as if they have more of an incentive now to vote for the sales tax.

"It very well could," he said. "It will give them something to think about when they go to the polls."