Archive for Wednesday, August 8, 2001

Residents speak against city excise tax proposal

August 8, 2001

A proposed transportation and excise tax has met with the disapproval of several Basehor residents and area developers.

Basehor city officials recently proposed an excise tax of nine cents per square foot of property.

The city has said the excise tax would be placed on new developments, and used for improving the main and arterial streets surrounding those developments.

Under the excise tax proposal, the only way existing property owners would be affected was if they chose to make a significant amount of improvements to their home.

According to the proposal, if a property owner with a $100,000 home chose to make $51,000 worth of improvements, they would be assessed the excise tax.

During the Basehor Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 7, there were more people speaking against the tax than for it.

Basehor Chamber of Commerce President Susan Guy said the excise tax, as well as raises in the city and county mill levies, would discourage businesses from coming into the city of Basehor.

The Basehor City Council is considering a 12-mill increase for 2002 budget and the Leavenworth County Commission is also proposing a nine-mill increase.

"We are just now starting to get businesses interested in coming to the city and if you put fees on them like this, it isn't going to work," Guy said. "We are going to tax ourselves out of existence. This isn't the time to put up barriers. We need the businesses."

Basehor resident Anna Mary Landauer agreed with Guy.

"I would like to see us grow, but we have to use a little common sense along the way," Landauer said. "Let's use a little reasoning so that people can afford to live here."

It is the argument of the city that for businesses to come into the city, there must be roads in place to support those businesses, City Codes Administrator Mike Hooper said.

"We have to get roads in place to have business," Hooper said. "We are trying to do the roads all at once instead of having to spread it out."

After the meeting, Hooper said he didn't know whether the City Council would choose to explore the excise tax further.

"I'll discuss it with the City Council and they will have to make a decision on whether to pursue it or not," Hooper said.

The Tonganoxie City Council recently passed a similar excise tax, but only charged five cents per square foot.

To pass the excise tax, the City Council would have to pass a charter ordinance and schedule a public hearing. The excise tax will not be placed on the agenda for the August meeting, but it could go before the council in September.

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