LYNDON—Half cent or half percent, the proposed sales tax increase for the city of Lyndon will make it to the ballot.
At the Jan. 20 city council meeting, board members voted to adopt resolution 15-02, proposing the sales tax in the April election.
The council compared two versions of the resolution, the same, with the exception of about five different words.
“One says ‘avoiding a mill levy increase’ and the other says ‘avoiding a possible property tax increase,’” said Betty Thompson, city administrator.
“Basically they mean the same thing, it’s just a matter of preference on wording,” said Pat Walsh, city attorney.
The council favored the version with property taxes.
“I think I like the city property taxes,” said Doug Watson, council member. “More people understand that than mill levy.”
Council member Bill Patterson agreed.
“One of the things I heard on the last one was it was too broad,” said James Kneisler, council member. “The people want to know what the money’s going to be used on.”
The last time the city proposed a sales tax resolution to ballot, in April 2013, it was rejected by a vote of 146 to 92.
Kneisler explained that narrowing down the reasons for the tax will give citizens a better idea of what the tax is intended for, while holding the city more accountable.
“If you just say it’s maintenance, it’s a little harder to keep track of accountability and if it’s really going and improving those things,” he said.
Council members also talked about spreading the responsibility of the tax to those outside of the community.
“If it doesn’t pass, then you’re talking five mills to do the same thing,” said Walsh.
Patterson motioned to enact the ordinance, which got a second from Chris Cole, council member. The motion received unanimous approval.
The council also made a decision on the Safe Routes to School project. Thompson said KDOT and engineers for the project needed a definite decision on making Cedar Street a one way, traveling north, between Sixth and Eighth streets.
“The school board doesn’t know if there’ll be an added benefit,” said Brandon Smith, mayor.
Bill Patterson, council member, said he visited other area schools, taking pictures and compiling images from Google Maps for comparison.
“They all have one way signs up, it’s a main thing,” said Patterson. “Carbondale has a different thing, it’s two way street but only parking on one side.”
“I assume there was a good reason for KDOT to come up with that, and to clear traffic as quickly as possible,” said Cole.
“Human error occurs when you make a choice,” said Smith. “This takes a choice away.”
“Keep in mind, the engineer came up with it for a reason,” said Kneisler.
The council reached consensus to keep the engineer’s design and proceed with a one-way street.
Members also considered BG Consultants as Safe Routes project inspectors. The council tabled the issue until a contract was available for review.
In other business, the council:
• approved Resolution 15-01, transfer of funds from special highway to special machinery.
• approved the year end report, to be published in the Jan. 29 edition of The Osage County Herald-Chronicle, see page 8.
• heard staff reports. Planning and zoning discussion brought up the issue of adopting international building codes.
• Kneisler talked about the possibility of the city getting its own trash service, saying he was looking into costs and other issues.
• said a joint city, school and recreation board meeting to discuss the Jones Park agreement is scheduled for Jan. 28. Members will also interview candidates for a recreation director.