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Transfer station sales tax vote in question

Blunder in bill’s language another pothole in path of new transfer station

Staff writer

A sales tax referendum planned for the ballot in November’s election is now in question.

County commissioners learned Monday that the language in legislation to allow the county to collect extra sales tax is a problem.

The bill called for a 1/2% sales tax, not “up to ½% sales tax” as the county requested. Commissioners wanted a sales tax of .178 for the transfer station.

“There’s a minimum of ½%,” commissioner Randy Dallke said. “We went up and applied for the same thing as what we had with the jail. We didn’t understand we couldn’t apply for less than ½%.”

Commissioners now have three options. They can pursue a revision when a new legislative session begins; request an attorney general’s opinion as to whether the legislation passed could be used to finance less than what the statute reads; or place a ½% sales tax on the ballot and develop an initiative for property tax relief and economic development as included in the legislature’s authority to put the sales tax on the ballot.

Commissioners decided to talk to Leon Osbourn, project engineer for Kaw Valley Engineering in Junction City, and make a decision after that.

“I think we should borrow it from ourselves and pay ourselves back,” commissioner Dianne Novak said.

Dallke disagreed, saying he hates to spend money out of reserves when roads need work.

Commission chairman Kent Becker said if the county ends up getting disaster relief money from the Federal Emergency Management Administration, that will help pay for road repair.

“We had the cash set back for the roads and we’ve used it for the roads,” Dallke said.

Dallke also said there is urgency about getting at least part of the transfer station work done.

“We don’t know how long the floor is going to last,” Dallke said. “It could be 10 years, it could be less than a year.”

Last modified Aug. 14, 2019

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