A quarter-cent sales tax implemented in 2008 will end next year unless Great Bend voters say “yes” to a question on the ballot.
“Shall the following be adopted?
“Shall the City of Great Bend continue to levy a one-quarter of one percent (1/4%) citywide retailers’ sales tax, the proceeds of which shall be used only to finance the costs of construction, reconstruction and maintenance of public streets within the City to take effect July 1, 2018? The one-quarter of one percent (1/4%) retailers’ sales tax will sunset after 10 years.”
A “yes” vote supports the measure. A “no” vote means the tax ends on June 30, 2018.
The tax was approved when our streets were “in dire condition,” according to city officials. If we keep it, the city will have about $900,000 more for street projects in 2018, and the tax will continue to 2028.
There are reasons to think twice before voting “yes.”
The city already has a half-cent sales tax that will continue until 2025, and 45 percent of that goes to infrastructure including streets. It should bring in $1.8 million in 2018, and 45 percent of $1.8 million is $810,000. The rest goes for property tax reduction and economic development.
Barton County also has a one-cent sales sale, of which the city will get about $2 million next year.
And the city has a street fund, financed through more traditional means.
But safe streets are a top priority for many citizens, and the continued tax may be a small price to pay for that. The latest project will repair 151 blocks.
The quarter-cent sales tax has been put to good use so far. A “yes” vote will allow the city to continue to make long-range budget plans, including plans to seek matching grants from the Kansas Department of Transportation or other sources.