How Will the Results of the Ballot Issues Affect South KC
By John Sharp
The November 8 election results for several local issues will have a significant impact on south Kansas City.
The most notable of these may be the approval of a property tax increase for the Mid-Continent Public Library to fund renovation and construction of library branches and expanded hours and services.
The library district committed during the campaign that it will make extensive renovations to its Red Bridge Branch, including a new community room, new study/collaboration rooms and a new building entrance. The Blue Ridge and Grandview Branches also will undergo extensive renovation.
Also significant for the south Kansas City economy was the defeat of a Jackson County proposal that would have discontinued the county’s ability to collect local sales tax when titling vehicles, trailers, boats and outboard motors not purchased from licensed Missouri dealers.
Passage of this measure would have put Missouri auto dealers such as those in Martin City and on 103rd Street at a tremendous competitive disadvantage to their Kansas competitors while costing the county significant revenue.
Passage of a 9-year extension of Jackson County’s quarter-cent COMBAT sales tax to fund substance abuse and violence prevention programs will allow that agency to continue its initiatives in south Kansas City including the recently opened Hope Hangout at Bethel Family Worship Center in the Ruskin area.
Hope Hangout provides tutoring and mentoring for youth in a safe environment after school and on weekends.
Jackson County also became the 8th county in the state to approve a new sales tax to fund services for at-risk children from birth through 19 years of age. Voters approved a one-eighth cent sales tax to fund such services for seven years.
While approving two measures that will allow the city to sell unneeded vacant park land, city voters defeated another measure put on the ballot through an initiative petition spearheaded by Clay Chastain that would have been used to fund a new light rail system.
That proposal, which Chastain has said (again) was his last, would have imposed two new 25-year sales taxes totaling three-eighths of a cent while taking the revenue for 25 years beginning in 2024 from an existing three-eighths cent sales tax now used to fund the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority’s bus system.