Archive for Wednesday, October 10, 2001

Excise tax proposal limits impact on existing property

October 10, 2001

An excise tax that has met with public dissent over the past several months soon will be a topic of discussion for Basehor City Council members.

At its Oct. 15 meeting, the council will decide whether to take steps to approve the excise tax, city officials said.

The tax calls for a nine-cent fee per square foot for each new development in the city. The excise tax also would affect property owners who make home improvements that raise the value of their property more than 51 percent. However, the tax on existing property would have a ceiling of $10,000.

For example, if a property owner has a home valued at $100,000 and chooses to make $51,000 worth of improvements then the excise tax would be assessed, according to the city's proposal.

The excise tax proposal the council will discuss is different from the proposals heard at a council work session and at the July Basehor Planning Commission meeting.

"Since the Planning Commission looked at it, we have put a cap of $10,000 on a single parcel of land," the City Codes Administrator Mike Hooper said. "Existing property owners that make improvements will not have to pay more than $10,000 for the excise tax."

Hooper said the cap was added to the proposal to spare property owners who make home improvements from paying large sums of money. The cap does not, however, apply to new developments in the city, he said.

The additional funds generated by the excise tax would be used to improve the main collector and arterial streets within the city, Hooper said.

Basehor City Superintendent Gene Myracle described the conditions of the streets in the city as "average", but said city officials hope to go to paved streets as opposed to the chip and seal streets that are currently seen in the city.

"Within the 10-year outlook plan we hope to have all the streets paved," Myracle said. "We are going to try to do away with all the chip and seal."

Myracle said the street department does its best to keep up with all necessary street maintenance, but the funds from the excise tax would be welcome should the city approve the proposal.

"The key thing would be main materials, meaning asphalt and concrete," Myracle said. "It would help us keep up with things that haven't been kept up for a long-time."

The funds from the tax also would allow the street department to engage in more special projects relating to city streets, he said.

The newest proposal comes on the heels of a 12-mill increase the council approved in August. City officials said the mill levy increase was needed to offset shortages in the city's sewer fund and to help pay for the new Basehor wastewater treatment facility.

Also approved during the August budget hearings was a 12 percent increase in the sewer rates.

The additional taxes are a concern for city officials when considering the approval of the excise tax, Basehor Mayor Bill Hooker said.

"It does raise a great concern," Hooker said. "Nobody wants to hear of new taxes, but to properly maintain the roads and the streets we have to have this tax."

Hooker said the burden on the taxpayer in the city could eventually be lessened with new residential and commercial development in the city.

During its October meeting, the council will decide whether to place the excise tax proposal on the agenda for the December meeting.

If the tax proposal is approved in December, it could possibly be implemented in February, city officials said.

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