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Bill jeopardizes vital road projects and jobs
Officials urge calls to lawmakers to oppose SB 463
GB city office

Senate Bill 428 came up as part of City Administrator Howard Partington’s departmental update during Monday night’s City Council meeting. Other highlights included:

Public Works

• Continue to work on the storm sewer at Broadway and Roosevelt. 

• Crack sealed on 19 St. from McKinley to Lincoln St. and on 6th St. east of McKinley. 

• Did the trenching for the street light at Seventh and Wilson. 

• Sanitarian: 102 year to date complaints, 16 new complaints (six by citizens and 10 by staff), 12 complaints completed by citizens, four abatement notices sent, two abatements performed and five vehicles brought into compliance.


• The Department has been preparing for its upcoming Citizen’s Academy, which will start on April 12. This group will meet every Tuesday evening for six weeks to learn the ins and outs of the Police Department and the Law Enforcement profession. There are still spots available for anyone who wants to apply. A very short application can be obtained at the Police Department.

• Chief Cliff Couch spoke to The School District’s MPAC (Migrant Parent Advisory Council). He answered questions about law enforcement and discussed community concerns.

• The Department kicked off its “Trading Card Program.” Children who collect and present all 32 of the Great Bend Police Department Trading Cards will be eligible for a gift certificate to Gambino’s. The driving factor behind the program, which was developed by Cpl. Jefferson Davis, was to encourage children to interact with law enforcement officers in a positive manner. 

• Davis has been selected to receive an award from the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police for his response to an incident when a fellow officer experienced a medical emergency last year. He’ll receive the award at the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police Awards Banquet in May.

Fire/EMS/Inspection/Code Enforcement

• Sent brush rig to Reno County on March 23 to assist with wildland fire.

• Sent brush rig to Barber County on March 25 to assist with wildland fire.

• Five candidates tested for Fire Fighter Reserves.

• City Inspector Lee Schneider received and has completed the plan review for Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers.


• Community Coordinator Christina Hayes agreed to be co-chair again for the Hospitality Committee for the fourth year to support the Great Bend Farm and Ranch Show taking place this week. 

• Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Emily Goad put out the first CVB e-blast on the April 1. “This is one easy and effective way we can keep people connected with Hospitality in Great Bend,” Partington said. There are over 2,500 emails in that database.

• This Saturday the city is partnering with the Great Bend High School to provide students only with an outdoor movie. They are watching “Now You See Me.” “special thanks to council members from the Booster Club to help provide a fun and safe event for the kids,” he said. 

 A bill pending in the Kansas Legislature would cripple the state’s highway maintenance program, cause a loss of jobs and severely impact Great Bend and surrounding area, Great Bend City Administrator Howard Partington told the City Council Monday night.

He was referring to Senate Bill 463, which among other things, sweeps sales tax money currently earmarked for the Kansas Department of Transport ion into the state’s general fund to prop up the beleaguered budget. “We urge everyone to contact their legislators and request that they oppose SB 463.”

Taking the .4 cents sales tax away from KDOT would be catastrophic, he said. “That action would end up taking money away from KDOT and putting many projects in jeopardy, including the portion of the Northwest Passage from Sterling to Nickerson.” 

Partington said this would also create unemployment. 

According to the United States Department of Labor, Kansas lost the highest percentage of construction jobs in January 2016 and was one of six states in the U.S. to see a drop in construction employment over the past year.

The number of construction jobs lost in the Sunflower State was 4.7 percent. This comes to 175,000 Kansas jobs. Partington said some attribute much of this to reductions in road construction projects with many firms taking jobs in surrounding states to make ends meet.

About the bill

According to the fiscal statement attached to the bill, it would increase the percentage of state sales and compensating use tax distributed to the State Highway Fund (SHF) from 16.154 percent to 16.226 percent for FY 2017. Beginning in FY 2018, the percentage distributed to the SHF would be eliminated. 

The Department of Revenue states that SB 463 would increase the transfer to the State Highway Fund by $2.4 million in FY 2017. A corresponding reduction to State General Fund revenues would occur. 

Beginning in FY 2018, all state sales and use tax receipts would be credited to the State General Fund with none statutorily credited to the State Highway Fund. Assuming an annual increase of 3.5 percent in sales and use taxes, State General Fund revenue would increase by $553.4 million in FY 2018, $572.7 million in FY 2019, $592.8 million in FY 2020 and $613.5 million in FY 2021. 

KDOT concurs with the Department of Revenue’s estimate for the increased transfer to the SHF in FY 2017. For fiscal years 2018, 2019 and 2020 KDOT’s estimates for SHF transfers are slightly different than KDOR’s because KDOT assumed a 3.75 percent annual growth rate for sales and use tax. 

The KDOT growth rate is the rate used by the November, 2015 Highway Revenue Estimating Group. KDOT states that the total decrease in sales and compensating use tax revenue to the SHF over the next four years represents the remainder of the Transportation Works for Kansas (T-WORKS) Program. 

If the loss of revenue is not replaced by a state general fund appropriation or transfer, it is likely that the scope of the T-WORKS Program would need to be reexamined. A secondary effect could be a reduction in the amount of bonds KDOT would be able to issue. Under current law, KDOT’s bonding authority is capped at 18.0 percent of projected SHF revenue, with the exception of FY 2016 and FY 2017. Therefore, any reduction in revenue has the potential to impact agency bonding. Any fiscal effect associated with SB 463 is not reflected in The FY 2017 Governor’s Budget Report. 

The bill proposes abolishing the expanded lottery act revenues fund, the Kansas endowment for youth fund, the children’s initiative fund, the state economic development initiatives fund; all revenues into such funds go into the state general fund; other transfers to the state general fund; and reduce funding to the Kansas children’s cabinet.