MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – The Manhattan City Commission is considering asking voters to approve a sales tax renewal in November. This is a 0.5% sales tax that would go into effect on January 1, 2023 after the current tax expires. If voters vote yes, it would that sales tax for another 10 years.
The tax is expected to generate $6.5 million a year in revenue. City proposals show this would go towards debt, infrastructure projects, jobs and housing.
Although this wouldn’t be new revenue, Deputy City Manager Jason Hilgers said the renewal could help the city battle budget issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have balances in our economic development fund that could be used in ways, if it renews, to help shore up some of the gaps we have short term,” Hilgers said. “It will allow us to plan and use those funds more effectively.”
Hilgers said the majority of commissioners have expressed interest in renewing the tax. He said they are currently debating how the revenue would be split between debt, infrastructure, jobs and housing.
Although he acknowledges a sales tax is usually a hard sell, Hilgers said a sales tax is the best option for the community vs. other revenue options like a property tax.
“We are fortunate enough to have a high pull factor,” Hilgers said. “We get a lot of people that come in to Manhattan that don’t live here and shop. Taking advantage of that allows the community to allow the visitor to help keep up with infrastructure needs.”
The city commission needs to make a decision by September 1 in order to get the question on the November ballot. Hilgers said that would be ideal because there would be a high number of voters due to the presidential election.
The Manhattan City Commission is expected to vote on the sales tax renewal during its meeting on August 18.