Archive for Thursday, February 3, 2005

County sales tax revenues to city grow 17 percent

February 3, 2005, 12:00 a.m.

Updated: February 3, 2005, 9:21 a.m.

Lansing officials backing renewal of a 1 percent countywide sales tax have new fuel for their position:

A summary report from the Kansas Department of Revenue's Office of Policy and Research showed distributions to the city from Leavenworth County's 1 percent sales tax in 2004 amounted to $525,262 - about $75,800 more than a year earlier. That's a one-year increase of 16.8 percent.

Think of it, sales tax proponents say, in these terms: To raise $525,262 using property taxes instead of sales tax, the city would have to levy an additional 10.04 mills on property owners. That amounts to $173.19 added to the property tax bill of a $150,000 home in Lansing, without even considering the amount the county would have to levy.

A mill is $1 in taxes for every $1,000 in assessed valuation.

City Administrator Mike Smith said the increased sales tax receipts signaled that city policies initiated through the years were paying dividends.

"First of all, it shows that Lansing is growing - period," he said. "Secondly, it's an affirmation of the city's efforts to be very proactive in bringing in new business."

Smith pointed to three retail businesses that recently had opened and generated sales tax receipts for the city: Aldi grocery, Speedway Chrysler Dodge Jeep and Oasis Pools. The businesses opened in Lansing, Smith said, because of the city's efforts and policies to attract them.

The sales tax was approved overwhelmingly in 1996 to pay for the Leavenworth County Justice Center and projects in the county's cities, but it expires Dec. 31, 2006. The April referendum would allow its collection for another 10 years.

An effort to rally support for the tax kicks into high gear next week. Town hall meetings are being organized in each of the county's six cities, Basehor, Easton, Lansing, Leavenworth, Linwood and Tonganoxie, to explain the rationale behind the tax. In Lansing, the town hall meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday in the City Council chambers at City Hall, 800 First Terrace.

Lansing Mayor Kenneth Bernard is leading the charge for the tax's renewal. A presentation he wrote will be presented in each of the town hall meetings. Bernard also is sitting on a committee with county commissioners, county officials and officials from throughout the county that is plotting strategy for a Vote Yes campaign.

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