Sales tax increase on the ballot in November


FINNEY COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Finney County residents will soon vote on a sales tax increase to fund some major development projects.

“Every weekend we buy groceries and come and shop,” said Lakin resident Kinlee Scheer. For her, those weekly errands to Garden City might get more expensive.

The city and county commissions are proposing a sales tax increase to fund four multi-million dollar projects in Finney County.

“I don’t have much of a problem with it,” said Scheer. “A little bit of a tax increase to help improve the community isn’t a big deal to me.”

Those improvements include building a third fire station and a shooting range for law enforcement, improvements to the zoo, and the expansion of Jennie Barker Road. The projects total about $18 million.

“Three tenths of a cent county wide, we project to generate 2.15 million dollars annually,” said Garden City manager Matt Allen.

An increase of .3 percent sounds like a small amount, but over the 15 years it would last, it would raise an extra $32.25 million. That’s because Garden City is a retail hub for the region, drawing in shoppers from as far as 150 miles away.

“We have far more sales than a community of 30,000 would support ordinarily, which is a good thing.” Said Lona DuVall with the Finney County Economic Development Corporation. “That just tells us that we have a trade area something over 200,000 people who choose to shop in Garden City.”

One of those shoppers, Kinlee Scheer, believes she will still benefit from the Finney County improvements.

“Even though I’m in Lakin, Garden City is still my home and it’s still our community,” she said. “It’ll still affect everybody, I think, that comes to Garden City.”

Language of the ballot measure is still being worked out but residents will vote on the sales tax increase in November.

Homeowners in Finney County will also see a mill levy increase of just below four mills, the most the county could raise it by without needing a public vote. Commissioners say the increase is needed to keep up with operational costs.

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