Archive for Wednesday, February 13, 2002

Basehor residents to vote on tax

February 13, 2002

Tonganoxie is having more success with its excise tax than one of its neighbors.

The local tax, a five-cent fee assess on each square foot of new residential and commercial buildings, went into effect last August and the city has taken in nearly $15,000.

Basehor, meanwhile, approved a similar tax at nine cents per square foot, but about 100 residents signed a protest petition against the tax. Now, the issue will go to a public vote in early April.

Some residents in Basehor say the tax discourages economic development, but Kathy Bard, Tonganoxie's assistant to the city administrator, didn't think the tax would be detrimental in Tonganoxie.

"When you're building new residential and commercial areas, that's adding traffic to your streets," Bard said. "You're going to need revenue to build streets."

Basehor city council member Joe Odle agreed.

"If there weren't any developments we wouldn't be talking about streets," Odle said. "This is one way to enact the ordinance when it would involve the developers and wouldn't fall on the taxpayers."

Tonganoxie has the lowest excise rate in the area. Along with Basehor at nine cents per square foot, De Soto is at 14 cents. De Soto officials dispelled the idea that excise tax hurts growth because 10 more permits were issued in the first year of De Soto's tax than the year before.

The Tonganoxie tax, which is levied when building permits are taken out, will be used strictly for building and maintaining roads, and Bard said the additional cost hasn't caused many problems.

"We really haven't had any trouble," Bard said. "Some of the developers thought land already platted was exempt, but that wasn't the case."

New commercial buildings and houses are affected by the excise tax. Building repair with more than 50 percent damage because of an act of God is exempt. Other exemptions are for properties reserved for city rights of way, city parks, building remodels and building expansions.

The fee, which is included in the building permit, netted $13.75 in January.

In Basehor's case, Odle said the excise tax was misinterpreted.

"I think the ones who signed the petition were just misinformed as to what an excise tax was and who would have to pay for it if it failed."

If the public votes down the measure in Basehor, alternatives would be increased property taxes or an impact fee requiring developers to pay a set fee before getting their building permits.

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