Archive for Wednesday, April 17, 2002

City Council delays finalizing excise tax

April 17, 2002

Expected to be finalized by the Basehor City Council this month, the recently approved transportation excise tax was tabled Monday so council members could further discuss the new levy.

The excise tax is a nine cents per square foot fee applied to new development and those that remodel more than 51 percent of their property's assessed valuation.

Basehor voters approved the excise tax during a special election April 2.

The City Council will discuss the excise tax during a work session at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 24. The excise tax could be finalized during the work session, city officials said.

At least one council member was ready to move forward with the excise tax during the April 15 City Council meeting.

"The longer we put it off, the longer it is until we collect," City Council member Joe Odle said.

The funds from the excise tax will be used to obtain matching fund grants from the Kansas Department of Transportation for road improvements, city officials said.

Odle made a motion to amend the remodeling portion of the bill, by changing the cap from $10,000 to $900.

However, the motion failed to get a second and other council members wanted the work session to further review the levy.

"We know it's been passed, but I'd like to approve it," City Council president Joe Scherer said.

It is unclear whether the remodeling portion of the excise tax will remain as part of the levy. City officials had previously discussed eliminating the remodeling portion.

"There's a lot of questions and we've got to hash those out," City Council member Chris Garcia said.

One of those questions is whether to include other taxing districts in the remodeling portion of the excise tax, such as the Basehor-Linwood School District.

City Council member Burl Gratny said the school district should be included because students use city roads.

"This is a small way of getting a little of it back," Gratny said.

"I would be against eliminating the schools," he added.

School officials have previously said they would be against paying an excise tax.

A legal question arose during the Monday night meeting as to whether land owners who do not live in the city should have been allowed to vote in the special election.

Scherer said he had received phone calls from property owners that did not reside in Basehor. They were upset they were not allowed to vote in the election, he said.

City Attorney John Thompson said the non-residents do not have a basis for voting in the election.

More election questions arose when Basehor resident Susan Guy accused the city of violating electioneering laws before the April 2 excise tax vote.

Guy said a line from a city flier asking for support in the upcoming election was illegal under state statutes.

"The fact is that you did campaign because you asked for support," Guy said.

City officials denied the allegations.

"There was no malice meant in that at all," Basehor Mayor Bill Hooker said.

The flier was reviewed by Leavenworth County officials and will not be turned over to the district attorney for prosecution, Leavenworth County counselor David Van Parys said.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.