Council says no to $262,727 excise fee waiver
Members of the Basehor City Council told the developers of Honey Creek Farms Monday night that they would not be granted an exception to the city's excise tax that voters put into place following an April 2002 vote.
The four present members of the Council during Monday night's meeting approved Council member Bill Hooker's motion to deny the requested excise tax waiver by a 3-1 vote. Council member John Bonee voted against the motion to deny the waiver; Council President Julian Espinoza was absent.
The developers had requested that the Council waive $262,727 in excise tax fees because they are making improvements to streets off the development site. The projects on 166th and 171st streets and the intersection of U.S. Highway 24/40 and 166th Street have been estimated to cost $769,000.
The excise tax itself is a 9-cents-per-square-foot fee that is applied to new construction and is to be used to pay for improvements to existing streets within the city.
"I question the maneuver of doing this by asking for our graciousness after the fact," Hooker said. "Had this been brought to the Council (by the developers) way before, I probably would have looked at this differently."
During the public hearing portion of the meeting, and before the Council took action on the matter, several members of the audience approached the Council and voiced opposition to the then-proposed waiver.
"If you give up this (excise fee) what do you do when the next person comes up and wants a waiver, and they will," former Council member Chris Garcia said. "If you say no then you better have a good reason."
However, Bonee had maintained that the waiver would have been acceptable, considering that the developer did make improvements to city streets. He said the waiver would have, in a sense, been a trade off for service that the developers already provided to the city."That is what we and the taxpayers voted on for use of the funds," he said.
In other action, members of the Council:
- Tabled consideration of condemnation proceedings and acceptance of force main wasterwater for Theno Farms,
- Approved a motion to forgive a $1,209.50 debt owed by Cole's Properties,
- Granted an up-to-30-day extension on a motion to revise the service delivery plan schedule for Cedar Lakes/Briarwood commercial annexation,
- Approved partial acceptance of Pinehust Drive and 155th Street, on the condition that the developer will provide adequate detour signage,
- Approved an interlocal agreement with Leavenworth County for use of funds in connection with improvements around 158th Street and State Avenue and a Kansas Department of Transportation project on Leavenworth County Road 2 beginning in July. The city will reimburse the county for additional costs incurred by the construction of an additional turn lane on 158th Street and funds will be drawn from the Pinehurst Benefit District,
- Approved a motion to allow Daniel Foy an extension on a deadline, until Aug. 1, to apply for a neighborhood revitalization plan tax rebate.
Following the two-hour meeting at City Hall, the Council adjourned to a work session where police schedule concerns and parking on city streets were discussed. Four Basehor police officers requested that the Council change from eight-hour to 10- hour shifts. Members of the Council indicated that the problem would be addressed when a new chief is named and that they were open to the possibility. Members of the Council also asked the officers to assess the parking situation on city streets and agreed that diagonal parking is necessary in front of the Basehor Community Library to help improve visibility and prevent accidents.