Basehor City Council to consider excise tax
During a Basehor City Council work session on Sept. 10, the council will discuss a proposed excise tax, city officials said.
At the work session, a decision will be made whether to place the excise tax on the agenda for the September City Council meeting.
The excise tax, which calls for any new development in the city to pay a nine-cent per square foot fee, is similar to those in Bonner Springs and Tonganoxie.
Basehor City Codes Administrator Mike Hooper said the excise tax would mostly affect new developments and not existing property owners. The only way the excise tax will affect existing homeowners is if they choose to make more than 50 percent of improvements to their home, he said.
City officials said the excise tax is the best option for dealing with an influx of new developments that are going to need upgraded roads.
"I think it is the fairest option and the best way to pay for these roads," Hooper said.
During the Basehor Planning Commission meeting July 30, residents were given a chance to comment on the issue and some were against the idea of the excise tax.
Basehor Chamber of Commerce President Susan Guy, who attended the Planning Commission meeting, voiced her opposition to the excise tax and said it would affect new businesses that were considering coming to the city.
Basehor City Council member and residential developer Joe Scherer said he was also against the excise tax, but agreed that something needed to be done to improve the roads while maintaining a reasonable tax base.
"The proposed excise tax presented at the Basehor Planning Commission meeting needs to be looked into more deeply and restructured," Scherer said. "I am not in favor of the current excise tax , but I do agree something needs to be done."
City Council member Chris Garcia said the excise tax could possibly be the only way to pay for some of the streets that would be needed for the new developments.
"The city doesn't have the funds for the roads, so how does the city pay for it?" Garcia said. "We have to start somewhere. A lot of these developers want roads put in, but how are we going to pay for them?"
"The City Council's job is not to look one year out, but down the road and into the future as well. We need to look down the road to see how we are going to handle all of this traffic. If it (the excise tax) fails, it fails, but it is something we need to at least look at."
Although the excise tax is still an issue for the City Council to deal with, the debate over a proposed five-mill increase for street improvements within the city is not.
City officials said the five-mill increase has been dropped and will not appear before the council in the near uture.
Previously, the excise tax and the five-mill increase had been in one package, but city officials decided to drop the mill increase because of a raise in the city's property tax rate and sewer rates.
At the June meeting, the City Council unanimously approved a 12-mill increase and a 12 percent raise in the sewer fees to offset shortages in the city's sewer fund.
"We knew there wasn't going to be any support for it because we couldn't see putting a 17-mill increase on the tax payers," Hooper said.