Archive for Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sales tax a topic for city council

August 6, 2009

A half-cent sales tax implemented in 2000 could be extended, and possibly raised, if the Baldwin City Council puts the matter before voters.

The sales tax was started to pay for the $1 million-plus Baldwin City Municipal Pool. It worked so well that the pool will be paid off five years ahead of schedule. The council thinks it’s best to keep that tax in play for other improvements and possibly raise it a quarter cent to help with capital improvements. Those were the discussions at Monday’s council meeting.

“The sales tax did generate more than expected,” said City Administrator Jeff Dingman. “It was estimated that it would cover the cost of the annual payment, which was $105,000. It did that and more. It typically generates $175,000 per year.

“That additional $70,000 has been accumulating,” said Dingman. “It addition to the $105,000 payment in 2008, we also paid an additional $300,000 last summer. By the end of 2009, we will owe approximately $150,000 and we should have enough funds to pay it off.”

He told the council he’d champion the tax’s renewal to provide for quality of life items that aren’t easy to find room for in the budget, such as recreation, improvements to the library, a hiking and biking trail and pool maintenance.

“We have a lot of people who come into town for events,” said Mayor Ken Wagner. “This is our opportunity to generate some revenue from this. Over a period of time, we could do a lot of things in the community that we wouldn’t be able to do.”

Dingman said there are many uses for the money, as identified by Steve Friend, director of the Baldwin City Recreation Commission. A big item is keeping the 10-year-old pool at its best.

“We definitely still have need for this sales tax if we are going to continue to improve the facility,” said Dingman. “Steve has pointed out some items that definitely need attention at the pool, the kind of regular maintenance items that you get with a 10-year-old facility.

“Our parks master plan process will also help us identify how we want to develop and improve our park properties over the next several years, along with other improvements such as library expansion.”

Wagner also suggested that the council consider an additional quarter cent sales tax for capital improvements, adding that the sales tax here would still be lower than in Lawrence. The matter wasn’t up for a vote, but Dingman was told to write an ordinance that would contain a question for voters to decide on separate half-cent sales tax questions. The council could trim that to a quarter cent when it votes on it at the next meeting.

“I think it gives some flexibility for the voters to decide,” said Wagner.

Council Member Ted Brecheisen, Jr., said he knew how he’d vote.

“I will say right now I favor continuing the half-cent sales tax,” said Brecheisen. “I don’t favor increasing it another quarter cent.”

The ballot would likely go to voters in November if the council approves the ordinance.

Comments

NanCrisp 5 years, 1 month ago

This weekend is sales tax holiday over in Missouri. Go shop!

We don't have that in Kansas. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

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Stacy Napier 5 years, 1 month ago

As always government taxes never get smaller. They can always come up with reasons to extend the taxes. Then they will come up with new ones.

Why can't government do with less for a change. Everyone keep in mind of this when you have to vote on a new sales tax. They never go away like the leaders say they will. They just keep adding more.

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K_dub 5 years, 1 month ago

I'm sure I'll get hammered by this rough writing crowd, but I actually think a small sales tax increase is a good idea. It seems to be spread evenly among consumers - and it apparently is have a positive impact on the city. That's a GOOD thing people!

As far as no sales tax weekend goes in Missouri - I say "go for it". I won't. I would imagine you'd spend more in gas and time driving over there than you would save. I'd rather spend my time & hard-earned money elsewhere.

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beevo 5 years, 1 month ago

It seems all Dingman can say is “We Need More Money! “. What an easy way run a city and balance a budget! Even my five year old could run city government this way! By the way, what do we pay him?

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baldwinfan 5 years, 1 month ago

I would be in favor of the sales tax if they decreased our property taxes with the revenue. Somehow, I don't see that happening.

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