The City of Dodge City Commission approved Resolution No 2021-21 at the August 16 meeting authorizing a question to be submitted on the 2021 Election ballot regarding an additional one-half cent sales tax to be dedicated to street projects.
Once submitted to the Ford County Election Clerk, the question will be added to the ballot for Dodge City residents to vote on.
“This question is asking the voters to choose yes or no on whether to increase the Dodge City sales tax by one-half cent, which is equal to 0.5%, or an increase of 50 cents for every $100 in purchases for the next ten years to fund street-related projects,” explained City Manager Nick Hernandez in a press release. “The increase would begin no earlier than April 1, 2022, and by law, the revenues from the increase would only be able to be used on street projects.”
Currently, the street maintenance budget for residential streets ranges from approximately $300,000 to $500,000 per year, with an additional $1-$1.5 million of debt issued for additional City/Highway modernization and expansion projects.
If approved, the one-half-cent increase in sales tax is projected to generate an additional $4.6 million in street funding per year.
According to Hernandez, though the question for the ballot is for a 0.5 % increase the current sales tax rate in Dodge City would increase by 0.35 %. This is due to an existing 0.15 % sales tax for Horse Thief Reservoir expecting to sunset, or end, the beginning of 2022.
“The current sales tax rate in Dodge City is 8.65%,” Hernandez said. “When you account for the Horse Thief tax ending and if the proposed streets sales tax passes, the sales tax rate would come out to 9%.
City staff is in the process of creating an educational page on the www.dodgecity.org site to address questions and concerns regarding the proposed ballot question.
Dodge City residents have already expressed dissent on The City of Dodge City’s Facebook about the resolution.
Questions ranged from citizens asking, “how much money comes in from vehicle tax for the roads?” to concerns on the height of taxes in Dodge City and where that money goes.
One resident asked, “where is casino funds? Wind farm funds?”
The City responded, “Currently we receive approximately $500,000 each year in sales tax revenue from the casino, which goes to our Growth & Development Fund. We do not receive any funds from the area wind farms.”
Another resident inquired The City, why “Why Not Dodge” (WND) tax funds cannot be used for street projects as opposed to, for example, the Long Branch Lagoon—which is only open during the summer months.
The City funds explained WND funds are bound by law to be used on WND projects only and grants for community facilities that promote tourism and entertainment.
“Why Not Dodge Sales tax funds were established in the same process as the proposed street sales tax will go through. The question on the ballot in 1997 stated that the sales tax increase would be for projects approved by public vote through an election and to grant funds to community facilities that promoted tourism and entertainment,” The City explained. “Similar to how the proposed question says it will be used for only street related projects, it can’t in the future be used for WND projects.
“Additionally, the WND sales tax funds are also jointly managed by the City and Ford County, with the oversight of the Community Facilities Advisory Board.”
In addition to answering the concerns of citizens on the post, The City said they will release FAQ document on www.dodgecity.org, later August 18.
“Additionally, there will be a live Q&A later this week,” added The City in their post.