Archive for Wednesday, February 20, 2002

Excise tax public vote to take place April 2

February 20, 2002

Those Basehor residents who signed a petition against the city's transportation excise tax will have their day at the polls on April 2.

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

However, a citizen petition against the excise tax was filed Jan. 29, causing the need for the public vote.

During their meeting, City Council members unanimously approved April 2 as the date for the special vote.

City officials said there are no other elections or votes scheduled for that day and it would be a convenient date for Leavenworth County election officials.

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

Basehor Mayor Bill Hooker said the excise tax is not expected to affect many residents who remodel.

Should the excise tax fail, city officials said they may take other measures such as increasing the mill levy or implementing an impact fee to make up the lost revenue needed for the road improvements.

"We need roads," said Burl Gratny, Basehor City Council member. "If the citizens want to pay for it, that's fine."

City officials said they had no predictions on how the April 2 vote would turn out.

Like the excise tax, the fate of the building that housed the Cabinet Shop of Basehor also remains in limbo.

During the meeting, the City Council heard a presentation from Dan Foy, an area builder, concerning the revitalization of the building on 155th Street in downtown Basehor.

A fire destroyed the cabinet shop building in May.

Foy said he wanted to rebuild the building, partially for storage space for his business, Construction Services, and for available retail space.

The building was scheduled for demolition via an agreement between the building owners, the city and Miles Excavating.

On Tuesday night, the City Council agreed to delay the demolition so it could further negotiations regarding the building's revitalization.

Although all parties agreed to the continuance, there is a stumbling block.

City officials said the building would require variances from the normal city codes concerning parking spaces.

Without the city approving the variances, Foy said it would be impossible to rebuild.

"It's pretty much dead in the water without the variances," he said.

The idea of revitalizing the building intrigued some council members.

"I think we should work with the owners and the possible future owners and make a feasible attempt to make the property work," Council President Joe Scherer said.

"I think they are solving a problem," Council member Burl Gratny said. "I think we ought to work with them and get that going."

City officials are expected to revisit the issue during the April council meeting.

In other action, the City Council:

approved support of application for an elderly housing development by Commercial Group Inc. of Topeka.

approved a liquor license for Shorty's Liquor and Party Shop.

approved an annual donation to Leavenworth Area Development.

approved a preliminary development plan for Prairie Gardens subdivision.

approved the rental of a post office box for the Basehor Police Department.

approved a donation to 2002 Project Graduation

approved departmental projects, positions and equipment needs for 2002

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