City Council Approves Annexation And Discusses Half-Cent Sales Tax

By  | 

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)-- Tuesday night, City Council members addressed an ordinance to develop property on city boundaries.

John and Barbara Hoffer are asking approval of annexation of the 79 acre lot on the northeast corner of SW Urish and SW 17th Street.

Planning Director, Bill Fiander, said the Hoffer's have big plans for the land.

"The development would include some medium to high density and some neighborhood commercial as well," said Fiander.

Topeka Police Chief Ron Miller agrees, but said it does raise a concern.

"I think the only issue the department will have is the added patrol time might take and needed to patrol the area, write the appropriate reports and have the police present in the area, but on balance, I think it will be a great addition to the city," said Miller.

Mayor Larry Wolgast and 9 council members agreed, voting to approve the annexation, with council member Chad Manspeaker casting the only dissenting vote.

Council members also discussed potential extension of a countywide half-cent sales tax. In addition to economic development efforts, it also could pay for improvements to city streets, including SW Gage to Fairlawn Road and 12th Street from Gage to Kansas Ave.
Not all council members like the approach.

"What bothers me is the sales tax hits people with lower socioeconomics harder than they do to other people in the county. This is a poor tax!" said council member, John Campos.

Campos and Manspeaker also disagreed with suggestions to ask voters to extend the tax for 20 years. No decisions were made Tuesday.

City Manager Jim Colson says he'll take the Council's feedback to county commissioners, in hopes of getting a public vote in the August primary.

Mayor Larry Wolgast and City Council members also congratulated Topeka Police Chief Ron Miller for President Obama nominating him for U.S. Marshal.