Roeland Park mayoral candidates on the issues: Are you comfortable with city’s current tax mix, or should it be adjusted?

Today we continue publishing the Roeland Park mayoral candidates’ responses to our general election questionnaire. Here’s the third question:

With the prospect of Walmart and its significant sales tax revenues leaving the city, Roeland Park raised its property tax rate by 26 percent in 2014. Are you comfortable with the city’s current mix of revenue from property taxes and sales taxes? Or would you like to see tax rates adjusted?

Roger Cooper

Before Wal-Mart leaves the city, the Mayor must have the education, experience and courage to lead the city to prepare to cut expenses. The simple approach is not to incur major debt for new projects, in the foreseeable future. A sudden drop in revenue can be handled, if no new projects are started.

We need to preserve the basic services that the citizens use daily. The city should work to reduce the mil levy so that our property taxes don’t make another large increase. My thought would be to reduce the mil levy over a 4 year period.

During my career, I was one of 6 persons that founded Maranatha Academy at Cross Points Church. It is still in operation.

Myself and 2 other persons started a health care facility about 40 years ago. It has grown over the years, and is still in operation. I also had to “make payroll” for my CPA firm with up to 7 employees.

My past experience and judgment over the years will now help the City of Roeland Park not to make extreme cuts in services.

Mike Kelly


A balanced and diversified tax approach should continue for Roeland Park. Currently, the city’s revenues are a 2:1 property to sales tax mixture. This mirrors the citizen survey conducted in 2016 of Roeland Park residents’ wishes as to tax allocation.

I will work to gradually lower the mill levy on an annual basis while preparing for Wal-Mart’s exit, as they have made no long term commitment to remaining in Roeland Park. Further, I will work to welcome new retailers that share our goals of shops that are local, walkable, add to the tax base, and bring value and character to our community.

Roeland Parkers deserve quality civic services, top-notch education, competitive infrastructure, and a dedicated, adequately funded police department. I will not jeopardize these things by encouraging immediate, drastic mill levy reductions. I am happy that expenditures in the proposed 2018 budget are lower than expenditures from 2017. This shows the City Council is finding efficiencies within the budget that are available, which is a practice that should continue.

Tomorrow we’ll run responses to question four: What do you hope you can say about Roeland Park four years from now that you can’t say today?