Archive for Wednesday, February 13, 2002

Excise tax vote could come in March, early April

February 13, 2002

A public vote on the city's transportation excise tax could happen at the end of March or the first of April, Basehor city officials said.

The excise tax was approved by the City Council in November and was to be used for funding improvements to commonly used city streets.

However, a citizen petition against the levy was filed Jan. 29 with Leavenworth County officials and subsequently validated, causing the need for a public vote.

City officials said the dates being considered for the vote are March 23, 26 or April 2.

There are no other elections or votes scheduled for those dates. Therefore, it would be more convenient for the Leavenworth County Clerk's Office, city officials said.

The vote must take place within 90 days of the petition's validation, according to Kansas state law.

The transportation excise tax is a nine-cents per square foot fee applied to new developments or owners that remodel more than 51 percent of their property.

Since its proposal, the excise tax has been a source of debate between city officials and some Basehor residents.

City officials said the levy is needed to fund road improvements and without it, taxes for all city residents could rise.

Those against the excise tax say it will discourage future economic development.

Should the excise tax fail, city officials said a number of measures could be taken to replace the lost income.

Those include applying an impact fee, payable when building permits are issued, or raising the city's mill levy by approximately 40 percent.

Basehor Mayor Bill Hooker said the city would discuss other options before the excise tax vote.

"I would think between now and the regular March (City Council) meeting there will be a plan B," Hooker said.

Despite the petition, Hooker said he believed the excise tax was still the best option for the city.

"I think it was an absolute necessity," he said. "It puts all the cost on the developer and not on every taxpayer.

"Some of the people (that signed the petition) may not have known exactly what it was for."

It is unknown whether the Basehor City Council will discuss the excise tax during its meeting Feb. 19.

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