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In November 2013, 57% of Olathe voters approved a 10-year, 3/8th cent sales tax to support a shortfall in Olathe's street maintenance funding. The City began collecting this special sales tax on April 1, 2014.
View Election Results
Why did we need to invest more in street maintenance?
If the City does not begin funding our street maintenance at a significantly greater level, it is projected that within 10 years the City will be paying 10-15 times what is needed today to rebuild streets. The City has a fiscal responsibility to maintain our streets now to avoid paying a significantly higher amount to rebuild our streets later.
Why couldn't the City use existing revenue to fund the shortfall?
Since 2008, the City, in alignment with stated citizen priorities, has made significant cuts in operations, while largely maintaining Public Safety and Transportation budgets. The percentage of general fund (operational) budget going directly to Public Safety and Transportation has increased from 62% in 2008 to 69% in 2013. The City cannot responsibly divert additional money to cover street maintenance needs without significantly impacting other services that citizens have said are top priorities.
Why did the City ask for a sales tax to fund the shortfall?
The City is recommending a sales tax to fund the street maintenance shortfall for several reasons. The City Council has the authority to increase the mill rate, but that rate increase would only apply to Olathe property owners. Other users of Olathe streets, including the many thousands who live outside of Olathe, would not contribute to an increase in the mill levy. In addition, the Council feels that an issue this important should be the decision of Olathe voters. A dedicated Street Maintenance Sales Tax ensures that all money collected must be used ONLY for the street maintenance projects outlined in the ballot (per state statute).
Will the Street Maintenance Sales Tax fully fund the City's street maintenance needs?
The projected revenues from the 3/8th cent Street Maintenance Sales Tax, alone, will not fully fund the City's street maintenance needs; however, the sales tax coupled with the City's continued financial commitment to street maintenance will provide the needed revenues to fully fund the program.
With a Street Maintenance Sales Tax, local & collector mill and overlay lane miles will increase more than 5 times what we are able to do today with our current budget, and the number of lane miles that receive surface treatments will nearly triple.