Owners seek city’s help to rebuild
Owners of the Basehor shopping center that was damaged in a fire are seeking assistance from the city in the rebuilding process.
During the Basehor City Council meeting Wednesday, Jan. 23, Tonganoxie resident and shopping center owner Debbie Breuer requested an exemption from the city's transportation excise tax in rebuilding the shopping center.
Breuer said all commercial and residential properties that are damaged in catastrophes or other described acts of God should be exempt from the excise tax during the rebuilding process.
"I think there was some oversight by the city," Breuer said. "In the event of a tornado or fire and you have to rebuild, you shouldn't have to pay for that."
Basehor Mayor Bill Hooker said he agreed with Breuer.
"My recommendation is indeed to grant the exemption based solely on that type of thing," Hooker said. "It is a deterrent to rebuilding, and I don't think it is fair to charge them for it, quite frankly."
The transportation excise tax is a nine-cents-per-square-foot fee levied on new developments and on owners making more than 51 percent improvement to their property.
The tax was proposed to help pay for road improvements, city officials said.
The shopping center, at 155th Street and Kansas Highway 24/40, caught fire Dec. 15, causing an estimated $1 million damage. All of the 10 businesses located in the shopping center were damaged, causing them to temporarily close or relocate.
Only four of those businesses, Doc and Bruties Pizza, Williams Insurance and Realty, Forshee Chiropractic and Ringold Veterinary Clinic, will return to the shopping center, Breuer said.
Breuer said she has spoken to several businesses interested in moving to the shopping center once the renovations are completed.
One of those businesses will be a party/liquor store owned by Jim and Cathy Breuer, she said.
One type of business that won't be relocating to the center is a grocery store. Breuer said the available space isn't big enough for the type of grocery store the city needs.
Breuer said the rebuilding costs are approximately $900,000. The building needs the roof replaced and new structural beams, in addition to other improvements, she said.
"We're just trying to get back as soon as we can with as few hurdles as possible," she said.
City officials said there is no timetable set on when a decision will be made on possible changes to the excise tax.
In other action, the City Council:
*approved adopting a resolution authorizing a housing credit application to be filed with the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing for the Commercial Group of Topeka.
*approved adopting a resolution authorizing a housing tax credit application to be filed with the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing for Cohen-Esrey.
*approved change orders for the Falcon Lakes project. Change order one amounted to $51,664 and number two $5,780.
*approved contractor payments for the Falcon Lakes Project in the amount of $772,727.69.
*approved a Feb. 1 work session to discuss 2002 departmental projects.
*approved the purchase of a DeWalt portable generator in the amount of $1,849. The generator will be paid for out of the special highway capital outlay fund.
*approved a motion to allow City Superintendent Gene Myracle to spend up to $5,000 for tools used for the sewer and maintenance departments.