Archive for Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sales tax still at issue for city council

The Baldwin City Council will have a special meeting Monday to discuss two sales tax issues, one that would be a renewal of the tax used to pay for the municipal pool and the second would be an additional tax. The present half-cent sales tax was started in 2000 to pay for the new pool. It raised more money than expected — around $170,000 a year — and the pool was paid off five years early.

The Baldwin City Council will have a special meeting Monday to discuss two sales tax issues, one that would be a renewal of the tax used to pay for the municipal pool and the second would be an additional tax. The present half-cent sales tax was started in 2000 to pay for the new pool. It raised more money than expected — around $170,000 a year — and the pool was paid off five years early.

August 20, 2009

Baldwin City Council members are sure they want to put sales tax questions before voters, but they’re not sure how.

At Monday’s meeting, the council was presented with two propositions, each asking voters for a half-cent sales tax. The first, to be used to pay for quality of life issues, would just be an extension of the present half-cent sales tax that has paid off the swimming pool early. The other half-cent would be used to pay for capital improvements.

That sparked a lively debate among the five-member council and Mayor Ken Wagner. They are concerned that there’s misinformation out there that it would be new taxes. One wouldn’t be a new tax, while the other would be.

But Wagner’s big message was that these taxes are a way to get something from those who come to Baldwin City and wouldn’t just be a burden on residents.

“We have a lot of transient people come through here every day,” said Wagner. “This is our opportunity. If we let this half-cent sales tax stop, we will have the lowest rate around. This is a chance to have people who don’t live in Baldwin City to help pay for these things.

“That’s why I thought we should put two questions for the voters to decide on,” he said.

While Council Member Mike Magers favors the sales tax, he’s not sure about the two questions.

“We might jeopardize getting one through if we try two,” said Magers. “There’s a sense of desperation about no new taxes. I think it would be great to find additional revenue without raising property taxes. I am a little fearful of neither one passing.”

The present half-cent sales tax was started in 2000 to pay for the new pool. It raised more money than expected — around $170,000 a year — and the pool was paid off five years early. But that tax was specifically for the pool and will end when it’s paid off. The one question for a half-cent sales tax would just be a renewal.

“I’m in favor of continuing the half-cent that we have, but not an additional half-cent,” said Council Member Ted Brecheisen Jr.

City Administrator Jeff Dingman and Council Member Bonnie Plumberg both spoke about the need to educate voters on the issue. Plumberg, who heads the community development committee, wants to have town hall meetings and come up with a flier containing information. That all needs to happen before the planned Nov. 3 election.

But the first step will be a special city council meeting next week. Dingman was instructed to rework the language on the propositions and essentially move the second one — for capital improvements — to being first and vice versa. Also, the consensus of the council was to ask for a quarter-cent instead of a half-cent on the second proposition.

The special meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday at the American Legion Hall. That’s a half hour sooner than the council usually meets. The sales tax issue will be the only matter of business.

Comments

NanCrisp 4 years, 8 months ago

"But Wagner’s big message was that these taxes are a way to get something from those who come to Baldwin City and wouldn’t just be a burden on residents."

That's quite true. How many Baldwinites actually spend much money in town?

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beevo 4 years, 8 months ago

Baldwin City, the most highly taxed town in Douglas Co.! Northeast Kansas? The State of Kansas? Don’t forget our utilities! Baldwin Ranks High!!! Our city fathers & the school board want to keep it that way!

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rateraiser 4 years, 8 months ago

Hey citizens...we got the pool paid off early...too bad we haven't figured out how to properly clean, maintain, or run it yet! What a friggin joke!

Don't forget...school starts at 8:00am sharp....or at least that's when the students can go to the classroom and the teachers are suppose to arrive. How the heck does school start at 8:00 if the kids can't go to the classroom until exactly 8:00 and the teachers aren't "required" to be there until 8:00. Sounds like school is from 8:15-3:00 to me.

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greyghost 4 years, 8 months ago

rateraiser:

I saw the city crew power washing the pool yesterday.

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Justask 4 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, they had to powerwash it to get the mold out of the corners. I don't know what was going on, but I swear I saw perch swimming in the bottom of that thing the last two weeks it was open.

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501gdm2 4 years, 8 months ago

This year the Baldwin residents will receive a additional 9 plus mill levy increase for the new school! Now more taxes from the city when Baldwin already pays more taxes than any other area in Douglas County. It's time Baldwin wakes up and lives within it's means NO MORE TAXES!!!!!!!!!!!

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beevo 4 years, 8 months ago

What is wrong with you; Mayor Ken Wagner, City Administrator Jeff Dingman and the Baldwin City Council members, that you don’t understand that there are many people in our community that are in deep financial distress. You are not helping our city but are contributing to a decline in the quality of life for many of the citizens of this community. Your actions are also hurting the businesses in our small town. You are driving people to shop outside this community because they need to reduce their spending just to live! Your actions and inactions are also discouraging people that would move to our community. The word is out that this little town is a very expensive place to live. This fact alone is having a negative effect on our city. Who wants to move to this bedroom community when it is far less expensive to live in other towns? This town will not grow but will even decline in its population! Have you seen how many homes are for sale? Our property values have dropped and will continue to drop if something isn’t done soon! Why don’t you find ways to reduce city spending! Lower the city budget! Clearly you could take actions to reduce spending and help all the citizens of Baldwin City. For example; why does each Baldwin City police officer have a city police car in his driveway? Why are most of the city vehicles new? Why are there three city non working employees in every truck that is driving to the area of the water treatment plant? I could go on and on but what good does it do when you won’t listen! Please do something before it is too late!

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beanburito 4 years, 4 months ago

hey dont talk to Ken Wagner about the needs of our city, he's only out for himself. sure our local farmers have enjoyed not paying taxes for some of their "toys". oh yeah some of ya'l may not have heard about that yet...oops. see a farmer still has to pay taxes on a fourwheeler or one of those gator machines. well the farmer wasnt charged taxes on those, you know to help keep the price down and to intice the sale. Ken pockets the money for the sale but hey it's only hurting our community. and how is it that he drives a truck and parks it in Kansas but has it tagged and registered in Missouri? this is against the law and he knows this because he had to change over other trucks in Topeka, last year, for the same offense. once again money that goes to our state and county....wake up Baldwinites! i too voted for "change" and am waking up to the wrong changes.

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jmyrick 4 years, 4 months ago

Bean, again you're commenting to an August story. That's real brave. No one will see it. Your login name of heritagehater is interesting. Disgruntled former employee I'm guessing. I've talked to him about the tags and I'll talk to him again.

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