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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Sales tax election revisited

  • When they met Monday, Leavenworth County commissioners revisited the issue of when to schedule an election for renewing a countywide 1-cent sales tax.
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    • In other business
      When Leavenworth County commissioners met Monday, they took up the following issues:

      They listened to concerns from residents regarding a neighboring property where they clai...
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      In other business
      When Leavenworth County commissioners met Monday, they took up the following issues:
      They listened to concerns from residents regarding a neighboring property where they claim rodeo events are being operated without a special use permit. County personnel were asked to follow up on the issue.
      They requested that county staff arrange a meeting with Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens regarding expectations related to a parking lot that's being constructed next to the Justice Center.
      They approved a contract with GBA Engineers for bridge design work in the amount of $75,000.
      They approved a bid from Midwest Duct Cleaning, Merriam, in the amount of $15,595 for cleaning the air handling units at the Justice Center.
  • When they met Monday, Leavenworth County commissioners revisited the issue of when to schedule an election for renewing a countywide 1-cent sales tax.
    The tax is scheduled to sunset at the end of the 2016. Revenue from the tax is split between the county government and cities in the county. Renewal of the tax has to be approved by voters.
    No date was selected Monday for putting the renewal question on a ballot. Commissioners asked County Administrator Pat Hurley to consult with officials from the cities.
    The city of Leavenworth will be having its own election to ask voters in the city to approve a separate 1-cent sales tax for the purpose of reducing property taxes. Last week, city commissioners voted to schedule the Leavenworth election for Feb. 4. The election will use mail-in ballots.
    County commissioners previously discussed scheduling the election for the countywide sales tax prior to the city's election or at the same time.
    But Bob Holland, chairman of the Leavenworth County Commission, said Monday that he is leaning toward the idea of waiting.
    "I'm leaning towards letting the city go ahead and pass their ballot and we do ours at a later date," he said.
    He suggested April 2015 as a possible date for putting the renewal of the countywide sales tax issue before voters.
    Municipal and school board elections will be held at that time. Holland suggested putting the issue on a the ballot at the same time as other elections could be cheaper than scheduling a special election just for the sales tax issue.
    County commissioners previously expressed concern about how voters in the city of Leavenworth would react to the countywide sales tax issue after voting on the city's sales tax proposal. County Administrator Pat Hurley has said voters in Leavenworth may view both issues as tax increases.
    This concern led to discussion of placing the countywide sales tax issue on a ballot prior to the city's election or at the same time.
    Holland said Monday that scheduling the countywide sales tax ballot question for 2015 would give the matter "time to settle down."
    County Commissioner Clyde Graeber noted that Leavenworth city commissioners have indicated they will work to see that the countywide sales tax is renewed.
    Hurley said there needs to be discussion with the cities regarding how quickly they would be ready to identify intended uses for the revenue from the countywide sales tax if it's renewed.
    "That's probably going to take some debate on their part," he said.
    County Commissioner Dennis Bixby said the county government also has to decide how it will spend its share of the money from the sales tax.
    Hurley said there may need to be some debate regarding the formula used to divide up the revenue from the countywide sales tax. During an Oct. 1 joint meeting between the County Commission and Leavenworth City Commission, Leavenworth Mayor Pro-Tem Mark Preisinger argued the existing formula is flawed.
    Page 2 of 2 - Graeber said Monday he doesn't want the county to look like a spoiler to the city's sales tax proposal. He expressed concern that this could be the case if the countywide sales tax issue is put on a ballot before the city's election or at the same time.
    Bixby said he agrees with Graeber in regards to the countywide sales tax election being scheduled before the city's election. But he doesn't share that concern in terms of the two issues being placed on ballots at the same time.
    "I look at it that the city of Leavenworth very well could be a spoiler for the county," he said.
    Bixby later said the county could have a second chance to put the countywide sales tax issue before voters if it initially fails.
    But Graeber said it would be difficult to get the issue passed in a subsequent election after it already has failed.
    Commissioners voted to authorize Hurley to consult with officials from the cities regarding they're planning for the renewal of the countywide sales tax.

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