Archive for Wednesday, December 1, 1999

Letters

December 1, 1999

Not a millennium

To the editor:

Regarding the City Council's plan to sell fireworks to celebrate the turn of the century: Am I the one who cannot count? It has always been my understanding that each and every century contains approximately 100 years.

So why are most of the adults in the population of this country planning to celebrate the beginning of the new century after only 99 years?

It would seem to me that two millenniums to be complete would require the passage of 2000 years, not 1999 years and one day.

Any comments please.

Mary L. Ball
19748 251st Street
Tonganoxie

Suppose the sunset is lifted

To the editor:

Suppose Leavenworth County voters approve lifting the sunset of the countywide sales tax, the cities agree that Leavenworth County receive 50 percent of annual sales tax revenues, Leavenworth County refinances the Justice Center bonds for 16 years so the Justice Center is paid off over 20 years, and the counties and cities identify specific plans for expending their share of the countywide sales tax. Then:

Leavenworth County and the city of Leavenworth would pay more interest on the Justice Center bonds.

Leavenworth County could pay its share of the Justice Center bonds and have, on average, $1.34 million a year of sales tax funds available to fund road and bridge improvements. Instead of the 9-mill property tax increase, a 20 percent property tax increase, called for in the county's $81 million Comprehensive Transportation Plan to fund road and bridge improvements, Leavenworth County could cut the property tax requirement in half by using sales tax revenues to help fund these improvements. Now, since all of Leavenworth County's sales tax revenues is needed to pay off the Justice Center in 10 years, the only way to fund road and bridge improvements is by increasing property taxes. That is why the county's $81 million Comprehensive Transportation Plan has not seen the light of day. Why even talk about it when there is no way the county commission is going to increase property taxes by 28 percent to pay for it? So, no road and bridge improvements are made

The cities would have a long-term non-property tax revenue source to fund capital improvements. Without sales tax revenues, the cities would also have to increase property taxes to fund an equivalent level of needed capital improvements.

The local tax base is broadened because all consumers, not just property owners, pay sales taxes. For example, the sales tax is the only way that the 6,500 residents of Fort Leavenworth can help pay for local public improvements. The sales tax is a way for visitors and travelers passing though to help pay for improvements. It is SO important for Leavenworth County to broaden its tax base with sales tax revenues because its property tax base is 62 percent below the statewide average, because 41 percent of the county's assessed value is exempt from property taxes.

How can it be wrong to ask the voters to decide whether to lift the sales tax sunset? If the voters say "No" the countywide sales tax will still pay off the Justice Center, and the county and cities can increase property taxes to pay for public improvements or not make the needed public improvements. If the voters say "Yes" the countywide sales tax will still pay off the Justice Center, the county and cities can make the needed public improvements without raising property taxes. Either way, the voters have made the decision. That is the way it should be.

David A. Greenamyre
300 Santa Fe
Leavenworth

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