Ruling on Mission transportation fee (driveway tax) will be appealed

Looking west on Martway from Woodson — Martway is still closed to traffic.
The TUF proceeds are used for street repair and maintenance.

The plaintiffs who sued the City of Mission in an attempt to have the 2010 Transportation Utility Fee (TUF) overturned are appealing their loss before a Johnson County judge.

District Judge James Vano ruled in November that the fee is actually a tax (often called the “driveway tax” by critics), but is legal because it is not an excise tax that would not be allowed in Kansas.

The plaintiffs include several property owners in Mission, among them Heartland Apartment Association, Mission Bank, Mission Bowl, Block Real Estate Services, and others. The individuals who are among the plaintiffs include Bill and Mary Ann Nichols and retired sheriff Currie Myers. Bill Nichols currently is a candidate for city council.

The TUF is estimated to raise $790,000 in the 2014 Mission budget. It is collected on tax bills and ranges from $72 per year for a homeowner to several thousand dollars per year for some businesses. TUF money is used for is used for street repair and maintenance and associated costs.

The TUF has become an issue in this year’s city elections with Nichols and other candidates advocating for its repeal, charging that it discourages businesses from locating in Mission. Vano issued a summary judgment for the city that contradicted a non-binding opinion from Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt. Schmidt had said the TUF constituted an excise tax. The matter now will be determined by the appeals court.

See the appeal document embedded below.