Lansing City Council members moved closer Thursday to putting a .45 percent sales tax on the ballot.
Lansing City Council members moved closer Thursday to putting a 0.45 percent sales tax on the ballot.
After considerable discussion, their consensus was to ask voters to approve that tax for 20 years.
City Administrator Tim Vandall said staff had a conference call with attorneys from Gilmore and Bell about the sales tax adjustment and planned to have an ordinance ready for the council on the Jan. 19 meeting agenda.
The increase would increase the city’s sales tax rate to 8.95 percent and generate an estimated $355,000. Council members have discussed using that revenue for parks and recreation improvements and half for infrastructure improvements, such as DeSoto Road.
That DeSoto Road improvement prompted Council member Tony McNeill to favor a 20-year rather than a 10-year sunset of the tax. The money generated would be enough for the improvement from Eisenhower to Ida Street, “but what about the rest?” He thinks that council and future councils would be obligated to improve the rest of DeSoto Road.
Council President Andi Pawlowski has expressed her interest in pursuing that tax as an alternative to increasing the mill levy, which would impact property owners. Though she had liked the idea of a 10-year sunset, “I’ll go for 20 if you think we can get it to pass.”
McNeill stressed the need for an educational campaign for voters to explain its benefits. He said he prefers a sales tax, which would share the burden with those who came through the town with Lansing residents.
Studnicka, too, had preferred a 10-year sunset, and he ultimately voted against the 20-year stretch for the tax, as did Council member Dave Trinkle. Voting for the 20-year sunset were McNeill, Pawlowski and council members Jesse Garvey and Gregg Buehler.
Vandall and the council have discussed starting with a mail ballot in the summer. That way, if the measure failed, they could try again during this year’s November elections. That’s when voters will pick city council members and school board members.