Letter to The Editor: Josh Jones

If you have seen the petition to abolish a sales tax and renew it for streets then this is some information to help you decide.
Have we ignored streets for the last 20 years ABSOLUTELY, YES. But we have to be smart about it. We can’t put all our money into the streets and ignore other areas or we will be in the same situation 20 years from now but just in a different department.
We have cut over $350k from high-level salary employees and contract employees in the last 8 months.
We lowered the mill levy and gave out raises this year.
We also increased our street department budget from $500k to $2million in the last 2 years.
We are doing exactly what needs to be done but it’s not a one-year fix.
We have to stick with the plan and continue to fix our town the right way.
I can also tell you this tax from 1983 was not meant for streets forever and I know this because this is a General Sales tax and not a specific use sales tax.
Specific use sales tax have a clause where they can only last up to 10 years and general use sales tax never sunsets unless by petition.
This sales tax is listed as a general sales tax with the state of Kansas since 1983 and that’s how we know it was not meant for streets forever.
We don’t need more money for streets we need a plan put in place by the 5 of us city commissioners.
In 2020 we had $556,000 in streets/special highway funds in
2021 we had $1,038,000 in streets/special highway funds and added the street sales tax fund which had $200k in it.
Next year we have allocated $1,248,000 for the streets/special highway fund and $738k do the street sales tax fund.
We have money for streets now we just need to get a plan to utilize this money and STICK WITH IT.
If streets don’t start getting fixed next year then it’s on us as commissioners and no one else.
Josh Jones, Mayor of Fort Scott

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