ecommendation coming soon.
That was the decision reached at a meeting of the Platte County Sales Tax Structure Advisory Committee, the now-10 member body that was appointed by county commissioners to make a recommendation on sales tax questions to be placed on the ballot later this year.
The committee has been meeting periodically since October. The general consensus toward the end of Monday night’s meeting at the Platte County Resource Center was that the next meeting will feature a decision on a recommendation to be made to commissioners. Some committee members said they will be reaching out to friends and other community members for input.
Just when that next meeting will be held has not been determined. Committee members are to check their calendars and send potential open dates to chairman Sandra Thomas. It was a generally agreed the meeting in which a decision will be reached would take place sometime in February.
Ron Schieber, presiding county commissioner, was present in the audience and indicated the county commission’s intention is to place sales tax question(s) on the August ballot. The deadline for ballot language certification for the August election is late May.
That puts to rest speculation that the commission would aim for an April vote.
Deadline for ballot language certification for the April 7 election is next week, Jan. 28. Schieber directly said the commission has nothing planned for the April ballot.
Gordon Cook, committee member, indicated a preference for a November vote, saying voter turnout would be higher in November than in August. Kevin Robinson, county auditor who made a presentation at the meeting, pointed out that any tax approved at a November election would not be able to take effect until April 1.
There must a non-effective quarter of the calendar pass between the election and the effective date, Robinson said. In other words, new sales taxes cannot take effect until the first day of the second calendar quarter following Department of Revenue notification.
The current half cent sales tax for parks will expire at the end of December. Waiting till November to pass any kind of tax would mean three months of non-collections before the “replacement” taxes could take effect.
It was pointed out the election will need to feature multiple questions because of the indicated dedicated funding. There would be separate questions, for instance, for a parks tax and a law enforcement tax, meaning each question would be decided on its own by voters. It’s possible one tax could pass and the other fail, for example. Committee member Wes Minder emphasized that the committee will want to keep in mind that whatever it proposes will need to be something it believes can be passed by a majority of voters. Committee member Aaron Schmidt had made the same observation at a previous meeting.
County commissioners have indicated a desire to redesign the current half cent sales tax for parks to direct a portion of that half cent to law enforcement. On Monday night, Robinson presented some projected revenue numbers for potential new sales tax amounts. He ran projections on sales taxes of 3/8th cent for parks and 1/8th cent for law enforcement (or general fund); 1/4 cent for each parks and law enforcement (general fund); and 1/8th cent for parks and 3/8th for law enforcement (general fund).
The county currently does not have a sales tax dedicated to law enforcement. Funding for law enforcement comes out of the general fund.
The county’s current half cent sales tax for parks/stormwater collects about $10 million in gross revenue annually.
Size of the sales tax advisory committee has shrunk by one. Originally at 11 members, Gina James, CPA, had relayed to Thomas that she was dropping off. James had been to only one meeting.
The 10 committee members remaining are Thomas, a former Platte County auditor; Gordon Cook, an accountant; Shane Bartee, attorney; Rick Easley, a retired chief of police from the Kansas City Police Department; David Ketchmark, attorney; Jim Kunce, former assistant director of parks for the county; Jim McCall, owner of a local financial and insurance firm; Wes Minder, an engineer for the City of Kansas City; Angie Morrison-Mutti, executive director of the Platte City Chamber of Commerce; Aaron Schmidt, former director of planning and zoning for Platte County who is currently a vice president of development and construction for Hunt Midwest Real Estate Development.