Bronson, Fort Scott, Fulton, Mapleton, Redfield and Uniontown all benefit from the upcoming proposed 1-percent sales tax that will be on the Nov. 3 Bourbon County Ballot.
In fact, if the proposal fails to renew (the sales tax has been in place for years), cities will have to make hard decisions concerning services they can provide their communities, according to authorities.
Several community officials have responded with what the possible impact on their communities will be.
“If a no vote prevails, each entity receiving this sales tax would have troubling decisions that would set our communities back even further,” Fort Scott’s Financial Director Susan Bancroft said. “Some communities may be forced to raise property taxes to cover lost revenue and some may face having to make the decision to unincorporate.”
“Citizens may ask why a sales tax rather than a property tax,” Bancroft said. ” Local residents and nonresident consumers buying in Bourbon County share in the revenue generated from a sales tax. Essentially, visiting consumers help financially support improvements in our communities versus a property tax solely coming from Bourbon County residents.’
“Currently, The City of Fort Scott generates roughly $750,000 per year from the 1% sales tax,” Bancroft said. “Approximately 67% ($500,000) of the sales tax is used for the street department for operations and basic maintenance to our city streets.”
“Additionally, 20% of the sales tax supports any capital improvements needed for parks, public safety, recreational facilities and public buildings,” she said. “The remaining 13% of the sales tax supports general fund operations for things such as: public parks, municipal airport, Woodland Hills Golf Course, aquatic center, Buck Run Community Center and public safety.”
FS Commission Recent Change: 90% Will Go To Streets
“At the October 6th commission meeting, the (Fort Scott)City Commission made a bold decision to change their current allocations of the 1% countywide sales tax to the street department,” Bancroft said. “The current 67% will increase to 90%, and will be dedicated to the street department for operations and maintenance if the sales tax passes on November 3rd. The remaining 10% will be used to continue to fund public parks, public buildings, recreational facilities, and public safety.”
Bronson, Fulton, Mapleton, Redfield and Uniontown use the portion of their sales tax to support general operations and are a significant part of their budgets, Bancroft said.
Bancroft broke down the following percentages for how much the countywide sales tax generates in each entity as a percentage of total revenue received:
- Bourbon County 35%
- Bronson 18%
- Fort Scott 11%
- Mapleton 29%
- Redfield 27%
- Uniontown 14%
“I encourage the citizens of Bourbon County to research the facts to understand the impact this vote could make on our county. The proposed sales tax is not a new sales tax. This sales tax is simply renewing the current sales tax in place, and for all entities, it is to support the day to day activities that keep our communities running.” Bancroft stated.
“The City of Bronson relies on the countywide sales tax to supplement our general fund to reduce the burden on property taxpayers,” according to Bronson City Clerk Ellen Harper. “Our general fund pays, in full or in part, expenses for general operations of the city wages, liability insurance, street maintenance, community center, library and parks. We would lose over $25,000 a year, which may not seem like much, but for a small city it would be detrimental to our finances. An estimated loss of 18% revenue would mean an approximate increase of 43 mills if it were to be added to property taxes. We couldn’t put that kind of burden on our citizens. So many services and benefits would have to be cut.”
“The City of Uniontown receives approximately $22,000 annually from this tax,” Uniontown City Clerk Sally Johnson said. “These funds are deposited to the general fund to help fund our public services to our community. These funds have not been earmarked for specific projects but have been used to fund a portion of patch material for city streets, culverts, ditch repairs, street lighting, signal light at Hwy. 3 intersection, help maintain the community center and much more. The City of Uniontown would like for citizens to consider renewing this tax so we can continue to provide services to our community.”
Fort Scott’s Finance Director Bancroft states “The City of Fort Scott depends heavily on the countywide sales tax. If the sales tax does not pass, the impact will be greater than the $750,000 generally generated from the sales tax. The $750,000 of sales tax will be lost revenue and an additional $500,000 will need to be cut from other areas to continue to supply the same essential operations and maintenance in the street department. This equates to 1.2 million dollars that would need to be cut if the countywide sales tax does not pass. Areas that would be affected are public safety, parks, economic development, recreational facilities, aquatic center and staffing.”
“Without the allocation of funds to the City of Fulton that are obtained through this sales tax, we would be cutting our yearly general fund in half,” Misty Adams, Mayor of Fulton said. “This would not be operable for our small town. The loss of revenue would be a huge loss and devastation for our small town and many other small rural communities. We would be operating in the red by year-end and be seeking assistance from our county commissioners. Without the passing of the 1% sale tax, we residents would see an increase in our property taxes and for some, this would create a financial hardship. Many small rural towns are housed by retirees who are budgeting their monthly expenses and are on fixed income, so increase in expenses is not what we are looking to do.”
The sales tax will appear on the Bourbon County November 3, 2020 ballot, as follows (taken from the county’s website):
Shall the following be adopted?
Shall Bourbon County, Kansas, levy (renew) a one percent countywide retailers’ sales tax to take effect on July 1, 2021, and expire on June 30, 2031, with the allocated shares pursuant to K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 12-192 to be used as follows: (1) to Bourbon County, for the purpose of maintenance and construction of hard surface roads, and (2) to each city located in Bourbon County, for the purpose of providing funding for public services?
To vote in favor of any question submitted upon the ballot, darken
the oval to the left of the word “YES”; to vote against it, darken
the oval to the left of the word “NO”.