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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Commissioners focusing on sales tax projects

  • Now that their work on the 2015 budget is winding down, Leavenworth County commissioners need to resume discussions about what projects they would fund with a renewed countywide sales tax, the county administrator said.
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    • Other business

      In other business Thursday, the Leavenworth County Commission:


      • Discussed the projected loss of revenue in 2015 due to the...

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      Other business

      In other business Thursday, the Leavenworth County Commission:



      • Discussed the projected loss of revenue in 2015 due to the phasing out of a mortgage registration tax. The state Legislature passed a law this year that will begin phasing out a mortgage registration tax collected by the county. The law also increases other fees that will benefit the county.



      County Administrator Pat Hurley said the Kansas Association of Counties is surveying counties regarding lost revenue from the tax.



      Hurley said accountant Steve Wagner estimates Leavenworth County will lose $245,000 in 2015 as a result of the law. Hurley said this figure factors in the money the county may make from increases in other fees.



      "It's clearly just an estimate," Hurley said.



      He said the $245,000 would equate to 0.424 mills, but the county is not raising its mill levy to offset the loss.



      The mill levy is used in determining property taxes. A mill is $1 per $1,000 of a property's assessed value.



      The county's proposed 2015 budget would keep the mill levy flat at 36.57 mills.



      Hurley said he will forward the information to the KAC and clarify the county is not raising its mill levy.



       

  • Now that their work on the 2015 budget is winding down, Leavenworth County commissioners need to resume discussions about what projects they would fund with a renewed countywide sales tax, the county administrator said.
    County Administrator Pat Hurley raised the issue when commissioners met Thursday.
    Hurley said he would like for commissioners to think about when they want to have work sessions to discuss projects that would be funded if the 1-cent sales tax is extended.
    "I would like to get into those fairly soon," he said.
    The countywide sales tax is set to expire at the end of 2016. Commissioners have scheduled a mail ballot election for Feb. 3 to ask voters to renew the sales tax for an additional 10 years.
    The sales tax provides money to the county government as well as the incorporated cities in the county.
    The tax generated more than $7 million in tax revenue in 2013. Of that amount, $2.87 million was distributed to the county government.
    Hurley said cities in the county have been working on their own lists of projects.
    "We need to start having work sessions ourselves," he said.
    Commissioners previously have discussed things that could be funded by the extension of the sales tax, but they have not yet settled on any projects for the county.
    Recently, much of the commissioners' time has been devoted to the proposed 2015 budget. The budget has not yet been approved. But, commissioners have scheduled a public hearing on the budget for Aug. 14.
    During Thursday's meeting, Commissioner Clyde Graeber mentioned a letter Basehor Mayor David Breuer had sent to commissioners.
    In the letter, Breuer wrote the city of Basehor is willing to provide land to the county for free for a new county annex for an EMS station and satellite office for the county treasurer.
    The property is located on 158th Street between Parellel Road and State Avenue.
    Commissioners have discussed the construction of a new county annex as a possible sales tax project.
    The county currently has an annex in Tonganoxie.
    "It is our intention to keep pushing this issue with the county as we feel that Basehor is the best location and can best provide the necessary services for Basehor and southern Leavenworth County residents," Breuer wrote in his letter to the commission.
    Breuer wrote that Basehor has seen remarkable growth in the last three years. This growth has created an increase in the need for EMS services in the city.
    Graeber suggested responding with a letter indicating that any development on the land being offered by Basehor will depend on whether the sales tax is renewed.
    Page 2 of 2 - "I can draft something and bring it back to you," Hurley said to the commissioners.
    Commission Chairman Bob Holland said he had heard about this offer before, but this is the first time he's seen it in writing.
    Commissioner Dennis Bixby said he has heard a request from the president of the Tonganoxie City Council regarding the county's use of sales tax revenue.
    Bixby said the council president asked if commissioners would be willing to devote a portion of the county's revenue to help the city pay off debt.
    Holland questioned if this would lead to other cities asking for debt assistance.
    Commissioners have set no dates for work sessions to discuss possible sales tax projects.
    Holland said it would be nice to have the work sessions on days the commission regularly meets.
    Bixby said there may be special interest groups that will want to meet with commissioners regarding potential projects. He suggested that such groups be asked to give advance notice so commissioners aren't inundated at one time.

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