Fort Scott residents have the opportunity to vote on a proposed .5% sales tax for the City of Fort Scott on Tuesday, March 2.
The tax would go towards streets, parks, and community facilities improvements, which has been a call from the citizens of Fort Scott.
A history of the tax proposal
In 2010, Fort Scott residents passed a .5% sales tax for improvements to Buck Run Community Center and the Fort Scott Aquatic Center. This sales tax was for 10 years and set to expire June 30, 2021, according to a press release from Susan Bancroft, Fort Scott’s Finance Director.
“In December of 2020, Fort Scott City Commission voted to petition for the continuation of the 0.5% sales tax for a different dedicated purpose for five years set to expire June 30, 2026,” she said. “The city commission voted unanimously that 90% of the proposed .5% sales tax would go to streets and 10% to parks and community facilities. Based on the past five-year average, the .5% sales tax has the potential to raise on average $698,000 per year.”
“The .5% sales tax is not an additional tax, it is the renewal of a prior .5% sale tax,” Bancroft said. “The difference of proposing a sales tax versus a property tax for the community is that those visiting from other communities are contributing to the improvements of our local infrastructure.”
“The 90% dedicated to street improvements includes sidewalks, bike lanes, and curb and gutter work,” she said. “The street advisory board and the public works director have been working to develop a five-year plan of potential street improvements and have preliminary plans in place.”
“The 10% dedicated to parks and community facilities include improvements such as ADA compliance, public bathroom facilities, playground equipment, trails, and memorial hall preservation,” Bancroft said.
“The parks advisory board has also met with the public works director to begin a five-year plan of potential projects and reported to the city commission at their work session on February 23, 2021, priorities they feel need to be addressed,” she said. “Year one they have proposed repairs to shelter houses and bathrooms in Gunn Park and repairs to the playground fall area at Nelson Park. Year two priority recommendations include an additional bathroom between shelter house 6 and 7 and further upgrades to the campground in Gunn Park.”
“During the election in November of 2020, the citizens passed a countywide 1% sales tax for Bourbon County,” Bancroft said. “The city commission committed to using 90% of the funds generated from this sales tax to be dedicated to the operations and maintenance of the street department. The remaining 10% would be used for the general purposes of the city. Collectively, the revenue generated from two sales tax initiatives would generate enough funding to put together a sustainable street program.”