Archive for Wednesday, September 27, 2000

Administrator says excise tax key to growth

September 27, 2000

In an effort to better the roadway infrastructure within the city limits, Chris Clark, city administrator, is trying to put together an ordinance to adopt an excise tax in Tonganoxie.

An excise tax normally is a tax levied upon either platted property or within the city. It is a figure per square foot that would be applied to land being platted or where a building permit is issued.

If the city council approves an excise tax next month, Clark said he hopes it would be set at 5 cents per square foot.

"We'll see how that works," Clark said.

Funds obtained through a Tonganoxie excise tax would be used to improve existing city roadways in areas that might need it, for instance, because of increased traffic from new developments. Currently, the city doesn't have enough funds to cover projects such as this.

"For some developers, the road improvements may be able to be done cheaper by the city," Clark said.

Clark has been looking at other cities in the Johnson County area that have instigated an excise tax in years past.

"I would like to set ours up similar to DeSoto's," Clark said.

DeSoto's excise tax is currently 13 cents per square foot. DeSoto adopted its excise tax ordinance about two years ago, said Gerald Cooper, DeSoto city administrator.

"It has been very important to the city," Cooper said. "We had no other way of developing revenue for arterial streets. It has enabled us to upgrade a number of roads.

Some are not up to standard yet but are driveable."

Cooper said that DeSoto has been able to raise about $200,000 from the excise tax to be used for the improvement of roads. DeSoto is currently preparing for a $110,000 road improvement project, of which part of the funding will come from the excise tax.

"This all came to a head when I went to a planning commission meeting," Clark said.

If adopted in Tonganoxie, the excise tax cost on a half-acre tract (21,780 square foot parcel) would be about $1,000.

This would help the city of Tonganoxie prepare for predicted growth, Clark said.

"The city really needs to prepare itself to meet the increasing number of households," Clark said. "The city needs to adjust by making sure the water, sewer and roads can handle it."

Currently, the city has sewer and water connection fees to cover additional costs and projects in the respected areas.

"It (the excise tax) is a one-time tax and the average citizen wouldn't have to pay it," Clark said. "It's a fair tax. Part of the reason for looking at this is that I want to try to find financial ways of meeting the needs of the city and relieve some of the pressure on the taxpayers to pay."

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