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Supporting Economic Growth

Avatar photo by Casey Woods, Executive Director | December 14, 2017
The Emporia City Commission unanimously approved placement of a Property Tax Relief and Economic Development question on the November 7th Ballot.
The wording of the ballot issue is as follows: Shall a retailers’ sales tax in the amount of one-half of the one percent (0.5%) be levied in the City of Emporia, Kansas (the “City”), to take effect January 1, 2025 and upon expiration of the City’s current one-half of one percent (.5%) sales tax levied by Resolution No. 3464, such tax to be used for general governmental purposes including providing funds to (a) promote industrial and economic development in the city and (b) reduce the city levied property taxes, provided that such retailers’ sales tax shall terminate on December 31, 2034, all pursuant to K.S.A. 12-187, et seq, as amended? Yes _____ or No _____
After careful consideration, the city commission chose to place the renewal of the 1/2-Cent City Sales Tax on the ballot on the November 7th election ballot for the following reasons:
a.  Due to past successes, future opportunities and water infrastructure challenges identified this past summer, significant investment in upgrading the municipal waster distribution system, and water storage needs to be addressed.  We are proposing a 2 million gallon water tower in the Park III area to provide a reliable bachup sypply for the entire City of Emporia’s water needs.
b.  Fifty-one percent of the 1/2 cent sales tax is used for property tax relief, which was $1,233,000 in 2016.  That equates to approximately 8.37 mills.  If the city waited until 2014 and the sales tax was not renewed, then $1,2333,000 would have to be cut from the budget and 8.37 mills added to the mill levy.  I doubt it would be eigher extreme but it would be a combination of budget cuts or mill rate increases.
c.  Funds are used to generate performance based incentives for jobs created at higher than average wages for the area.  Job creation is important for the future of the region.
This is simply a continuation of an existing tax, not a new tax.
Innovations in economic development, tax structure stabilization, and quality infrastructure are key components to successful communities.  If you are a local citizen that wants to keep the mill levy stabilized, if you believe that maintaining our local water/sewer/infrastructure systems are important for our quality of life, and if you know that future economic trends require different approaches that will emphasize entrepreneurship and small business growth (both are capital intensive growth activities)- you may want to consider this ballot initiative.

About the Author

Casey Woods, Executive Director

Before accepting the director position in March of 2009, Casey worked in both retail and agricultural jobs in the family businesses. A lifelong resident of the Emporia Area, Casey was a ten year volunteer for Emporia Main Street prior to his appointment as director. During that time he served as the board president and chair of the Economic Vitality Committee.

Casey also serves as a partner in PlaceMakers, LLC, a consulting firm that routinely works with both large and small communities, and their businesses, to promote sustainable economic growth through community and economic development practices. Casey consults with businesses, organizations and communities to understand their market capacity and fill vacant spaces. He has been involved in two projects that included crowdfunding as a part of their overall business funding strategies, Radius Brewing and Twin Rivers Winery & Gourmet Shoppe.


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