HOLDREGE, Neb. -- A long-planned merger between two public power districts in central Nebraska appears to have been halted after a move by one of the boards on Friday.

The Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District Board voted 7-to-5 on Friday in favor of implementing a merger with the Dawson Public Power District at a special meeting in Holdrege.

While that's a majority of the board, it fell short of the two-thirds majority needed per statute to move forward.

The vote came after almost 45 minutes of comments from staff and the public.

The merger between the two entities had already gotten the go-ahead from both boards last year, but it was held up in court.

Discussions on the merger go back to at least 2020, when both boards announced their intentions to explore combining, saying at the time that it could mean increased potential for economic development and better rates for customers.

Dawson Public Power District is scheduled to meet next week. There's been no word yet on how Friday's vote will affect their agenda.