Still Lacking Sales Tax Plan, City Council Schedules Special Session

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- After failing to come up with its own wording for the upcoming vote to extend the county-wide sales tax, Topeka City Council members have agreed to meet for a special session next Tuesday (July 22).

Last Tuesday, council members spent hours voting on proposals and amendments to match the county's suggested version - only to walk away empty-handed. At the end of the day, though, Shawnee Co. Commissioners will get the final say on the exact language of the ballot voters will see.

Council members talked about making changes to the resolution dubbed "Attachment A." The revision was a $240.9 -million tax revenue plan offered by Councilman Nathan Schmidt (8th District). Earlier rounds of council votes added on in-fill sidewalks and guaranteeing nearly $5 million in improvements to South Topeka Boulevard, in a stretch between 15th and 21st Avenue.

A dozen more roadway projects were placed on Schmict's proposal, along with $10 million to support the Zoo's Master Plan, and a $3.2 million dollar commitment for the City's Bikeway Master Plan. But, with the addition of those two items, the council couldn't come up with a way to make up the gap in funding.

Suggestions included letting the county take care if its trails systems and slashing funds to GoTopeka, which Councilwoman Michelle de la Isla and Deputy Mayor Denise Everhart contend still have money in reserve. Later on in the session, new member TJ Brown suggested a cut to funding for the Expocentre, but that too was quashed.

The debate highlighted the ongoing battle between whether the city should focus on economic development or quality of life issues and the capital projects that go with it.

But by the time they were done, they had also rejected City Manager Jim Colson's original resolution, which included sidewalks with no funding, and they ended the debate with no solution.

Related Documents