Lee’s Summit voters will soon decide on half-cent sales tax to pay for infrastructure improvements

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LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- Next week, voters will be asked to approve a half-cent sales tax that would raise about $100-million for road and flood control projects.

Supporters say the tax is necessary to keep up with the city's booming growth.

The tax would continue an existing half-cent levy for another 15 years, and pay for a variety of infrastructure improvements, everything from sidewalk repairs to new trailheads.

Major routes into and out of downtown would all see upgrades, including Third Street, Douglas Street and Colbern Road.

There are also plans to build a new downtown parking garage at a cost of $8-million.

And more than $22-million is earmarked for stormwater projects, designed to limit erosion or prevent flooding as continued construction generates more runoff.

"This is not just, give us $100-million and trust us," said Kent Kirby, president of Friends of Lee's Summit, a group supporting the tax. "There’s actually a list of projects that will be there. So this is Lee’s Summit money going for Lee’s Summit projects. People are coming into this town because of who we are and what we are. This is part of supporting that effort."

There is no organized opposition, although some homeowners oppose the renewal, saying taxes are already too high.

The sales tax rate in most of Lee's Summit is nearly 9 percent.

Some also claim developers don't pay their fair share for infrastructure.

Voters also will be asked to approve changes to the city's charter designed to make Lee's Summit a good place to live and do business, as it evolves from small town to big city.

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