Olathe considers increase in sales tax

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OLATHE, Kan. — Olathe residents will soon decide whether to raise the sales tax to help pay to repair area streets. City officials say rising costs are making this new tax necessary.

The ballots will be mailed Wednesday, Oct. 23, and it will ask residents to approve a 3/8th cent sales tax. If passed, people who shop in Olathe would pay to fix the roads they drive on.

Olathe officials say with many roads cracked and in dire need of repair, this new sales tax is necessary.

The city recently released a video showing just how bad some streets have become due to the harsh weather we see every year. The constant freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw that happens in a typical winter causes the paved roads to wear down quickly.

If approved, the new sales tax would run for 10 years and add more than $9.2 million to the street maintenance budget. Olathe officials say right now they can only pay to fix 40 percent of the roads in need of repair. The extra money from this tax would allow them to fix all the roads in need of repair.

Right now Olathe businesses charge 8.5 percent in sales tax, the same as in Overland Park and Shawnee. If passed, the sales tax would rise to 8.875 percent, higher than many of the surrounding cities except for DeSoto and equal to Gardner’s sales tax.

The ballots are due back to the Johnson County election office by November 12, which is Election Day, and if approved, it would go into effect on April 1 of next year.

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