Archive for Friday, November 11, 2016

Tonganoxie City Council determines ballot question wording

November 11, 2016

The Tonganoxie City Council has agreed on verbiage for a mail-in ballot question for a new 3/4-cent sales tax.

The council approved, 5-0, wording for the ballot question. If voters approve the measure, it would replace the current 3/4-cent sales tax that has funded Tonganoxie Water Park. That 10-year tax is about to expire.

If approved, the tax would run from Oct. 1, 2017 and end Sept. 30, 2037. The ballot question earmarks the tax going toward construction of new capital improvements, maintaining new and current infrastructure, funding debt-issued for capital improvements and the construction of a new or expanded library. The tax would be in addition to a 1 percent citywide retailers’ sales tax already levied within the city.

Library representatives spoke at the meeting of the need for a new library. They spoke of it serving an important role as a place for people of all ages to go beyond the traditional library offerings. It is a hub for technology usage and many programs for residents ranging in age from toddlers to senior citizens. It also is a community space for people to take shelter from extreme elements in the summer and winter.

Library officials and supporters urged the council to move the mention of the library higher in the ballot question. The council obliged, directing Interim City Manager Jamie Shockley to make the adjustment. The timeline for the ballot question likely will be ballots being sent out early next year.

Revenue from the 20-year replacement sales tax is estimated at $7.2 million.

Library representatives are projecting a new library would at most cost $3.6 million.

Council members stressed that the city and library would need to continue to work together closely to see what price tag works best for both entities and whether there is other fundraising coming through the library.

“We need to make sure we can cover bases with as much money as we’ve got,” said Council Member Curtis Oroke.

There would be other projects that a replacement sales tax could fund, including roads and bridges.

Library officials have been eyeing city property at Third and Main as an ideal locale for a new facility.

Mayor Jason Ward said it was a logical location with its close proximity to both Tonganoxie Water Park and Gallagher Park.

A new piece to the debate likely will come with Midwest Carpet Center’s interest in the former city maintenance shop, which is just south of that vacant lot at Third and Main streets.

Shockley said Midwest Carpet Center, which is just around the corner from the shop, would possibly like to add the shop to the center’s property.

Council members said they owed it to Midwest Carpet Center owners to discuss the potential sale while also hearing from library officials about what that might mean for their plans.

Council approves malt beverage licenses

The council approved a cereal malt beverage license for Casey’s General Store and a temporary license for the Leavenworth County Fraternal Order of Police for a Nov. 19 fundraiser at the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds for a law enforcement official battling cancer.

Pedestrian traffic improvements

Tonganoxie Police Chief Jeff Brandau urged the council at Monday’s meeting to consider some safety improvements for pedestrian traffic heading to the Tonganoxie Elementary School/Tonganoxie Middle School campus.

Council members approved the first measure of placing a pedestrian crosswalk, with signage and painted crosswalk on the road, in the area of Fifth and Sixth streets and Pleasant street.

Other potential changes would be dropping the speed limit to 20 mph from Fourth Street to Washington Street on Pleasant Street.

Another would be making that Pleasant Street stretch from Washington to Fourth Street a school zone during certain hours.

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