Roeland Park narrows priorities for spending new sales tax revenue if voters approve hike

As Roeland Park prepares for a city-wide vote in December on adding a .35 percent sales tax increase, the city council has been grappling with how the revenue from the tax might be applied.

Roeland Park BannerAgain this week the council worked through extensive financial projections on the expected loss of sales tax revenues from the re-location of Walmart from Roeland Park to Mission and potential tax recovery scenarios if new retail tenants can be found for the Walmart building.

The council did set general priorities for how the sales tax proceeds might be spent. The four priorities are emergency infrastructure repair, infrastructure needs, service cut restoration and reduction in the property tax levy.

Those priorities still need to be folded into a resolution that will come back to the council for approval. The sales tax loss from the Walmart move has been pegged at $700,000 per year. The new store in Mission Gateway is expected to open in 2015.

The new sales tax, if passed, is expected to raise $288,000 per year. The .35 percent tax would be added to the 1.25 percent base sales tax that the city currently charges. That would bring the total rate charged in Roeland Park to 8.925 percent as the base rate and up to 9.975 percent in the highest special taxing districts.

Ballots will be mailed to registered voters around Nov. 20 and must be returned by Dec. 10. The city is planning two town hall meetings to discuss the tax, tentatively scheduled in early November and early December.

A previous attempt to pass a higher 3/4 cent sales tax increase was narrowly defeated last year. The city has seen property tax valuations fall for the last several years and starting in 2014 will cut more than $132,000 from current city services.