Fri May 25, 2012
Council Passes Sly James Tax and Bonds Plan
Another victory Thursday for the program Mayor Sly James calls Reform and Repair means Kansas City voters will have the final say in August.
There was not a dissenting vote as the full council approved a double pronged approach to infrastructure. The simplest part is a half-billion-dollar bond issue to get started on a 25-year federally mandated sewer upgrade.
The complicated one is a tax revamp to provide more money for streets, parks and community centers. Councilman Jim Glover called it a fresh, binding approach. “It's a significant step, I believe, in the history of the city, to have a dedicated source for street maintenance,” he said.
Several council members noted that by specifying in an ordinance that 7.5% of the city's e-tax revenue must go to street maintenance, voters can assure themselves that a past history of broken promises on streets will end. One concern was noted: that the earnings tax must stand a renewal election every 5 years.
The mayor's revised plan would guarantee only about ¼ of the ideal miles of street repairs, but council members agreed it's a start after years of neglect.
If the voters approve the tax structure changes, a number of city taxes including the one on vehicles will end in exchange for a 1/2-cent sales tax increase.