August 1, 2012
Kansas City voters will be asked to vote on two questions Tuesday, Aug. 7, regarding the city’s parks system, street maintenance and sewer system.
Question 1 changes the way the Kansas City parks system, street maintenance and repairs are funded.
Question 1 aims to establish a stable revenue for enhanced services for the entire parks system as well as creating a dedicated fund for street repair and maintenance.
If approved, Question 1 will eliminate several fees and taxes including: the traffic way maintenance tax, the park and boulevard maintenance tax, the boulevard front foot assessment tax and the annual vehicle fee of $12.50 to fund community centers.
The above taxes will be replaced with a one-half cent sales tax paid by both residents, visitors and those who work in Kansas City.
Establishing the one-half cent sales tax would double the budget for street maintenance and repairs.
As for the parks department, its budget has been reduced each year over the past four years and additional revenue will restore a portion of the funding that was lost.
Question 2 is a result of new federal mandates requiring the city to upgrade its current sewage and storm water system.
If approved by voters, Question 2 will authorize $500 million in revenue bonds to address the unfunded mandate. In addition, the revenue would allow the city to provide sanitary sewers to growing areas of Kansas City.
The bonds would utilize current low interest rates and would not increase taxes.
If voters fail to approve the bonds, sewer rates will increase dramatically. According to city officials, using the bonds will help manage rate increases since the city can pay off bonds over a longer period of time.
Both Questions 1 and 2 require a simple majority to pass.