1% Sales Tax Election August 29, 2023
Why is it needed?
In a special election on August 29, Clearwater voters will be asked to consider implementing a 1% city sales tax. This would generate approximately $220,000 annually to maintain and improve infrastructure, services and amenities in the city.
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The City of Clearwater has been evaluating the city infrastructure, and as a result, we have identified specific immediate issues, as well as some long-term needs. Recently we completed an in-depth road study, which revealed many overdue road repairs and indicated what streets will need to be upgraded or replaced in the coming years before they fall into disrepair. In addition, there are future sewer and wastewater needs, and steps we will need to take for our aging water system. These large infrastructure improvements have a price tag of approximately $500,000 per year for the next several years.
In order to fund these critical infrastructure repairs and improvements, additional funds need to be generated each year. By doing this, the City will be able to prevent future infrastructure issues and save money by being proactive rather than reactive.
Proposed Solution – 1% City Sales Tax
By implementing a 1% City Sales Tax, the City of Clearwater can generate approximately $220,000 per year, which would allow the city to:
Maintain and improve roads, water system, and other infrastructure on a regular schedule, rather than reacting to problems
Respond swiftly when infrastructure problems arise, so we can minimize any negative impact
Create safer roads, sidewalks, and spaces for which our community can be proud
A sales tax would generate funding not only from people who live in Clearwater, but also visitors who spend money inside the city limits.
What does 1% mean?
With the State of Kansas reducing the state sales tax on food from 6.5% to 4%, residents will see that even with the addition of this 1% city sales tax the total taxes they will pay on groceries will still be less than they were originally paying.
Besides implementing a 1% Sales Tax, other options the City of Clearwater could consider include:
Reducing services and shift money to infrastructure
We know our parks, senior center, and recreation offerings are important in our community, so we’d really like to avoid affecting those services.
Raising property taxes
The city council has authority to raise property taxes through a simple majority vote. However, the City of Clearwater already has a fairly high mill levy so the city council is sensitive to placing more burden on property owners.
Comparisons to Neighboring Cities
Currently, the City of Clearwater’s sales tax rate is 7.5%. The proposed 1% sales tax increase would keep the City of Clearwater at a similar rate to surrounding communities.
Comparison to tax rates in neighboring cities
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the election and who can vote?The election will be held Tuesday, August 29, 2023, and will be open to all registered voters who live within the city limits of Clearwater, KS. Early voting will be available at the Sedgwick County Election Office from August 14 to August 25 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and then again on August 28 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. On election day, voters can cast their ballot at their typical precinct locations. The last day to register to vote to participate in this election is August 8, 2023. For more voting information, visit https://www.sedgwickcounty.org/elections/special-election-information/clearwater-special-sales-tax-election/.
How much will this tax generate annually?Each year the 1% sales tax is expected to generate approximately $220,000.
What is the current maintenance/replacement schedule for roads?Clearwater has had an annual program for street repairs or several years. It recently has formalized that work into specific sections of the City for maintenance and identified streets which are beyond repair and are in need of major reconstruction.
What is the lifespan of a road, and what maintenance is done to ensure that lifespan is met? The typical lifespan of a city road is 20 – 30 years. To maximize the life of our roads, City staff stays on top of routine maintenance including crack sealing, pothole repairs, and resurfacing as needed.
What happens if we don't do this?In order to provide adequate road maintenance and repairs, we need to invest in our future. Without the implementation of a 1% sales tax the City of Clearwater will have to look into implementing a property tax increase, which means the cost for these improvements would fall solely on property owners within Clearwater city limits.
How else can the money be used?The money will be used to maintain and improve the city roads, water system, and other infrastructure on a regular schedule. It would also allow the city to respond swiftly when infrastructure problems arise, creating safer roads, sidewalks, and spaces for which the community can be proud.
What is impacted by this 1%?The additional 1% sales tax will be applied to all purchases made within the city limits, online purchases delivered within the city limits, and vehicles and other goods that are taxed based on an individual's place of residence.
What are the benefits of the 1% sales tax?A: A sales tax is beneficial because it not only generates funding from people who live in Clearwater, but also people who live outside the city limits. The sales tax would generate funding from anyone spending money within the city limits, which includes people traveling through Clearwater to get to their job in Wichita, those who commute to Clearwater for work, families who live outside of Clearwater that are coming to town for school, and visitors coming to town for one of our many events and festivals.
Will this have an impact on small businesses?A: Many surrounding communities who have implemented a 1% sales tax continue to have a thriving small business community. Furthermore, the City of Clearwater’s current sales tax rate is lower than many surrounding communities, and with the additional 1%, the city sales tax rate would still be comparable to surrounding communities. To give an example in real terms, the additional 1% sales tax would mean paying $1 extra on a $100 purchase.
Does Clearwater currently have a sales tax? What surrounding cities currently have a sales tax?Currently, there is no city sales tax for Clearwater. The following surrounding communities have a city sales tax:
How does Clearwater’s mill levy compare to other communities in Sedgwick County?Currently, the City of Clearwater has a higher mill levy than several surrounding communities which is why the City is sensitive to placing more burden on property owners: Current Mill Levy Rates:
How does the City currently allocated the property tax it receives?For a $170,000 home in Clearwater, Kansas, the city receives $1,251.63 in annual property taxes. This $1,251.63 is allocated between city departments and services as follows: Administration - $201.98 Senior Center - $15.89 Police - $249.32 Municipal Court - $23.59 Public Works - $72.29 Volunteer Fire - $80.50 Parks - $80.64 Pool - $29.58 Equipment Reserve - $221.68 Debt - $81.56 Public Library - $31.51 Museum/Library Buildings - $5.18 Special Projects - $157.92 (Includes fireworks show and economic development activities.)
What is the ballot question?Shall the City of Clearwater, Kansas, be authorized to impose a one percent (1.0%) City-wide general purpose retailers' sales tax, the revenue from which will be applied to improvements to City streets, alleys or other infrastructure, with collection of such sales tax to commence on January 1, 2024, all pursuant to the provisions of K.S.A. 12-187 et seq., as amended? To vote in favor of the question submitted on this ballot, darken the oval to the left of the word "Yes." To vote against it, darken the oval to the left of the word "No."
With the State of Kansas reducing the sales tax paid on food, how will this 1% sales tax affect the taxes paid on groceries?With the State of Kansas continuing to reduce the state sales tax on food over the next few years, residents will see that even with the addition of this 1 % city sales tax the total taxes they will pay on groceries will still be less than they were originally paying.