Tiebreaking vote grants chruch tax break
The Tonganoxie City Council approved a tax break to Cornerstone Family Worship for construction of a new church, but it took Mayor Jason Ward’s tiebreaking vote.
Council Members Chris Donnelly and Andy Gilner voted in favor of the excise tax reduction, while fellow members Curtis Oroke and Kara Reed voted against it.
With Council Member Jim Truesdell absent, Ward cast the deciding vote at the July 6 city council meeting.
The council voted to give the church a 30 percent discount on its excise tax, which is just less than $12,000.
There was some inconsistency with decisions of past councils whether to give excise tax breaks, but when breaks were given, they were for 30 percent.
“Churches in this community make contributions far beyond what we see every day,” Ward said.
Oroke continued with his position when the council discussed the issue at its last meeting.
He didn’t think churches should be given an exception on the tax.
Reed maintained it shouldn’t be a case-by-case decision.
“I do not see compelling evidence to waive this fee in this case,” she said, noting she would be more on board if there were a consistent policy.
The Rev. Ron Swaim said notification about the excise tax came well into the process.
“First of all, it would have been nice to know that when we started this process,” Swaim said.