Archive for Thursday, February 24, 2005

County sales tax subject of town hall meeting

February 24, 2005

Projections indicate a countywide 1 percent sales tax will generate approximately $180,000 for the city of Basehor and more than $2 million for Leavenworth County in 2007, all of which, by law, must be funneled into designated public projects.

Local officials have spoken to several civic organizations in recent weeks regarding the countywide sales tax, which must be renewed by voters on the April 5 general election ballot to remain in effect. The information campaign will continue with a town hall meeting for Basehor voters, scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, at Basehor City Hall.

Leavenworth County estimates indicate Basehor would receive $183,000 in 2007 from the sales tax and county government approximately $2.8 million. If voters reject the sales tax question, it would be the equivalent of the city losing 7 mills, and the county 6 mills, of property tax revenue.

County voters approved the 1 percent sales tax in 1996 and the money was used to pay for the Leavenworth County Justice Center as well as fund several projects for area cities.

Basehor city officials said money from the tax was used to pay for asphalt overlays inside several subdivisions and on streets such as Cedar, 150th, 152nd and Chestnut. Also, the money paid for repairs to culverts, ditches and sidewalks.

Each city in Leavenworth County has approved an ordinance designating what projects the sales tax would be used for during the next 10 years. If the tax is renewed, the money would be used in Basehor for overlays to original streets and improving streets such as 155th. It could also provide matching funds required for state and federal grants for streets.

The county has earmarked its sales tax money for projects such as improving county roads 5 and 8 -- also known as Fairmount Road -- and upgrading its communications system for local emergency responders.

Also, if the tax is approved, it could have ripple effects eventually leading to a Leavenworth County interchange at the Kansas turnpike.

Leavenworth County officials have indicated that the Kansas Turnpike Authority has agreed to study the county's need for an interchange should the tax be approved.

Officials said the turnpike authority needs assurance that Leavenworth County has funds available for some local involvement required for the possible project.

An approved sales tax measure, and the funds associated with it, would provide the turnpike authority with that reassurance.

The 1 percent sales tax would expire in December 2016 should voters approve the question on the April ballot.

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