Mayor, county administrator seek support of sales tax

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Opinion column

by Murrel Bland

Mayor Dave Alvey and County Administrator Doug Bach are seeking support for the extension of the three-eighth-cent sales tax that will expire in 2020. They took their campaign to a meeting of the Legislative Committee of the Kansas City, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce Friday, May 11.

The tax, which was first approved in 2010, raises about $10 million annually. About 35 percent of the revenue raised is for police department expenses and helps pay for such things as new police cars, police officer salaries and body cameras. It also helps pay for new fire trucks. It also helps pay for roads and sidewalks all over the city.

The Unified Commission has chosen to place the renewal of the tax issue on the primary election ballot Tuesday, Aug. 7. The sales tax would be less objectionable than property tax. Mayor Alvey said that much of the sales tax that the Unified Government collects is from the Village West area and comes from out-of-town visitors.

Mayor Alvey said he used his campaign funds to take a voter survey. The ETC Institute of Olathe took the survey and indicated the sales tax issue would probably pass. The issue received a 70 percent approval in 2010.

The primary election date was chosen because fewer voters traditionally turn out. A yes vote obviously benefits police and fire personnel. Those who follow Kansas City, Kansas, politics understand that these public safety personnel can influence elections.

Mike Smallwood, the chairman of the chamber’s Legislative Committee, told Mayor Alvey and Bach they would study the issue and get back with them whether they would support the issue.

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is the executive director of Business West.

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