Council discusses sales tax to improve Topeka infrastructure

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- An extra sales tax you pay in Topeka to fix streets could soon be on the ballot again.

The Topeka City Council started talks Tuesday night on re-authorizing a half-cent sales tax for infrastructure.

In 2009, Topeka voters approved implementing the sales tax through 2019.

The council must decide whether or not to ask the public to keep it around.

“The past tax said that it was only replacing existing things so we couldn't do any of the things our neighborhood wanted,” Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla said.

The tax could be on the ballot as soon as this November to keep the flow of money uninterrupted. Some council members want the new ballot question to focus on the Pavement Condition Index, new technology used to prioritize which streets or roads need the most work.

“That includes looking at our whole roads and seeing everything that needs to be done to include the water main so that we could have sidewalks and all the things that we need to make our city's quality of life what our city is asking for,” De La Isla said.

The council will continue their discussion and eventually write a new half-cent sales tax question for Topeka voters who will ultimately decide its fate.

"One of the number one priorities that our citizens have said is they want roads to be fixed,” said De La Isla. “The challenge that we have is if we don't have the extension of that tax we won't have the mechanism to make that happen."

Two people also asked the council to create an ordinance that would give the family members of those fatally shot by Topeka Police officers prompt access to body camera footage.