Archive for Wednesday, November 28, 2001

Council to make decision on excise tax proposal

November 28, 2001

After months of debating whether it was the right course of action, the Basehor City Council is set to determine the fate of a proposed transportation excise tax.

On Monday, Dec. 3, Basehor residents will get a chance to voice their concerns regarding the excise tax proposal during a scheduled public hearing at Basehor City Hall.

The meeting is slated to start at 5:30 p.m., city officials said.

The excise tax, which calls for a nine-cent per square foot fee for any new development in the city or any residence that makes 51 percent of improvements to their homes, is aimed at building new roads inside the city to support future and existing developments.

For residences, the City Council has placed a $10,000 cap on the excise tax.

Basehor Mayor Bill Hooker said he wasn't sure how the Monday night vote on the excise tax would come out.

"I don't know which way they are going to go," Hooker said. "We are kind of in a catch-22. We don't want to raise taxes, but how else do we come up with the money to pay for these roads we are going to need."

Basehor City Codes Administrator Mike Hooper, who has worked with the developers coming to the city, said he thought the excise tax was the fairest way to pay for the roads.

"It's the fairest thing to do," Hooper said. "Right now, we have no way to pay for roads."

However, those who have spoke out in opposition to the tax say it would hinder further economic development in the city.

Susan Guy, president of the Basehor Chamber of Commerce, said the county and city should stop thinking of Leavenworth County as Johnson County.

She said businesses succeed in Johnson County because they have the population, a central market area, a high per capita income and an exclusive status. Johnson County cannot stop this growth so they impose higher and higher taxes on developers.

"Basehor does have a high per capita income and a fast-growing population, but we do not have that "elite status" that Johnson County enjoys nor do we have the 100,000-person market area many franchise operations look for," she said.

She believes road improvements shouldn't be paid for by new businesses since everyone will be using the roads. In addition, the excise tax would not be tax fairly among businesses, i.e., a fast food restaurant would have more traffic, causing wear and tear on roads, than other commercial businesses.

The excise tax would not completely pay for the costs of road improvements, incurring more indebtedness for the city, especially in light of the proposed neighborhood revitalization program.

At the meeting, the City Council can either approve the charter ordinance concerning the excise tax, table it or reject it altogether.

Should the council approve the tax, it would become effective shortly after the new year.

If the council approves the excise tax, there is a 60-day protest period before the measure becomes effective.

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