March 20, 2019 Joint Commission Minutes
GOODLAND CITY COMMISSION
Joint Commission Meeting
March 20, 2019 8:30 A.M.
The City Commission joined the meeting of the Sherman County Commission in progress. Vice-Mayor Jay Dee Brumbaugh, Commissioner John Garcia and Commissioner Jacque Schields responded to roll call. Mayor Brian Linin and Commissioner Annette Fairbanks were reported absent.
Present from Sherman County Commission are County Chairman Rod Blake, County Commissioner Larry Enfield and County Commissioner John Topliff.
Also present from the City were Suzanne McClure – Economic Development Director, Mary Volk – City Clerk and Andrew Finzen – City Manager. Also present from the County were Rachelle Standley – County Appraiser, April Hall – County Treasurer and Ashley Mannis – County Clerk.
Sales Tax – Andrew stated, the City would like to continue sales tax discussion and look at future options. The Commission wanted to start discussion before the April 16 joint meeting with election timelines. The City priority is not to put burden on property tax. The benefit of a sales tax is projects are funded by people not from your tax base with I-70 traffic. When the sales tax sunsets, we are proposing to continue the sales tax in some capacity going forward. City priorities are unfit structures and infrastructure needs, which can be utilized for an extended period. We understand County priority is Highway 24. County Commissioner Topliff stated, our priority is all hard structure roads in the county. Andrew stated, yes, road maintenance. We also would like to look at the City and County funding economic development together through sales tax. We can bring both entities together to organize program and jointly fund. History shows the one percent generates about $1,200,000. We would like to look at different options to split the tax between both entities after sunset of tax and bond is paid off. County Commissioner Enfield stated, Highway 24 is important road for farmers. We are facing tear out and replacement of the nine mile stretch Ruralton to Goodland and overlay remaining ten and half miles. We would like to put the issue back on ballot for voters. The contract to get NSI to town was to maintain two hard surface roads. County Chairman Blake stated, with these numbers there is no way to generate enough money for the maintenance. Andrew stated, as in past, it will need to be done by bond issue. County Chairman Blake stated, at this rate it looks like we will have to go to voters for more than one percent if City wants their share. We cannot just let road go as it will be a liability and prices will continue to go up. Andrew stated, the County issue is that this is a City sales tax not County since County does not have ability for the tax. County Chairman Blake stated, if you are going to split things up, this option will not work. Andrew stated, going back through file, the County entered into an interlocal agreement to use the City sales tax and the City and County came together on projects. City has authority for a sales tax initiative. County Commissioner Topliff stated, if we are going to continue to fund maintenance of roads will have to do another interlocal agreement. Andrew stated, the City can take initiative to increase sales tax without a vote but have a petition time period. In 2007 the entities came together to address the projects which is how I see it was approved by voters. County Commissioner Topliff stated, when tax sunsets we have to take issue back to voters. Andrew stated, we can take back to vote sooner with the stipulation it will not go in effect until date bond is paid off or sunset date. County Chairman Blake stated, we have to look at amount of money needed for projects by both entities. Vice-Mayor Brumbaugh stated, I am an advocate of sales tax. My home town got together to raise sales tax to drop property tax because of highway traffic. I do not feel we can go higher than 9% for Goodland but need to extend time on sales tax. Right now I feel we will need the 1%. Rachelle asked, will State change sales tax, that will that help us? April stated, they are looking at decreasing food tax but it will hurt us as will not receive as much sales tax. Andrew stated, online sales tax will help. To extend tax we want to involve County with an interlocal agreement of the special sales tax for a maximum of ten years. City has authority to assess 2% forever, but that is not want we want. County Commissioner Topliff stated, if City goes ahead with .05%, you will raise $600,000, will that help your budget? Andrew stated, we need to keep up with infrastructure improvements and fund economic development by sales tax. It is not about maintenance of infrastructure but looking at future growth in community, like at the Industrial Park where there is available space but no utilities or road. Electric infrastructure needs addressed for growth with south loop. Vice-Mayor Brumbaugh stated, we have to start shaving the peaks off streets. April asked, has the City considered raising sales tax? I do not like to always target people off highway, but would it generate enough revenue if State reduces their rate? Can you address it like a CID area? Andrew stated, a CID requires 51% of property owners in district to approve and it is typically for construction. We cannot assess CID tax for use outside the district. County Commissioner Topliff stated, the City needs to use their authority and increase sales tax .05%. Andrew stated, the reality of the issue is a sales tax increase to 9.5% is a tax increase for citizens in the community. We want to maintain without substantial change and not make it difficult for County to get a sales tax issue. County Chairman Blake stated, looking at what we receive in tax revenue, it is not enough to maintain roads. Commissioner Garcia stated, Rick Billinger and I were involved in last issue when City and County worked together. We have 9% sales tax in community, the State takes 6.5%, remaining is for school, hospital and other entities. We have to be creative and proceed in unity to survive. Everyone complains about 9% so it is not viable to go higher. We stand more of a chance if we can even go down to .75% rather than 1%. County Commissioner Enfield stated, our only choice is fund projects by a sales tax because we have to go to voters to increase property tax. Commissioner Garcia stated, I am talking about Sherman County and the City being creative in moving forward. County Commissioner Topliff stated, 1% is not enough to reach objective. If we get online sales tax it will help. April stated, there is a lot of business sales tax received from online sales. County Commissioner Topliff stated, I feel we should work together to get this accomplished but if City moves forward, they should increase tax then decrease tax at sunset. Andrew stated, our objective is to get a plan in place before sunset of existing tax. County Commissioner Enfield stated, we can continue bond to sunset and use additional money to help maintain roads even if bond is paid off. County Chairman Blake stated, it is a big conversation and need to address. We have a nine mile stretch we have to address but there is not enough money to maintain road. County Commissioner Enfield stated, the Coop is part of the problem with their traffic on the road. County Chairman Blake stated, if did not have Highway 24 to worry about this conversation would be easy. Past commissions have not put a plan in place for maintenance. County Commissioner Enfield stated, if we give the road back to state they will take it back but will close it because we are within one mile of I-70 so we are required to maintain. Dwight Chipperfield, County Citizen stated, if we let Highway 24 go, the rest of the roads will go bad also. With states formula on Ag land, what will happen to tax collection when that goes back down if you cannot raise budget unless have a vote? Rachelle stated, it is based on values and if cannot increase budget, services will continue to decline. April stated, I think an increase in sales tax will be more of a detriment to community than a benefit. Citizens have a choice where they purchase goods but not for their property tax. Andrew stated, I agree, that is reason would like to maintain 9% sales tax. We cannot continue to increase taxes and rates. Rachelle stated, have you thought about having a public meeting? People think if you raise one the other will go down but you have to educate the public as they do not realize where money goes. They may be in favor of an increase if educated. Andrew stated, public comment has to be part of the process; there is no way to proceed without public education. Vice-Mayor Brumbaugh stated, when you have interstate traffic you have to utilize that dollar. Andrew stated, I think this sales tax passed last time because everyone came together, that is the only way it will work again. If we let the tax sunset then you will be looking at a tax increase to citizens. County Chairman Blake stated, numbers do not lie, I am trying to figure out what we are going to cut to maintain budgets. Vice-Mayor Brumbaugh stated, I am not considering cutting budgets but duplication of services like purchasing fire trucks. I still feel we should combine economic development and CVB as there are many services duplicated. County Chairman Blake stated, I never understood why they were separated when I became a commissioner. We have discussed this with other counties. In Russell County, they are two departments in the County under one umbrella but they perform different jobs. CVB money cannot be used for economic development purposes. There are ways to work together but have to keep separate budgets. Suzanne stated, that is correct, the funds cannot be comingled. County Commissioner Enfield stated, the biggest thing we need to look at combining is law enforcement. There is a lot of money between those two budgets. County Commissioner Topliff stated, if City wants to combine Fire District 1 with department, I think contract can be renegotiated. County Commissioner Enfield stated, it is coming we just need to look at options. Andrew stated, it is all in the structure. Commissioner Garcia stated, one way to formulate is look at creative thinking in Riley County. We need to start taking steps that direction. There are future items the State will mandate whether we like it or not. We have to be prepared to deal with the issues and I feel if we start looking at it, it will benefit community. County Commissioner Topliff asked, are you willing to combine law enforcement or fire? Vice-Mayor Brumbaugh stated, I am willing to combine where ever we can to be more efficient. Rachelle stated, there are many counties that share an individual appraiser. There are many options for you to work together and save costs which will say a lot to your citizens. County Chairman Blake stated, we may need to get outside help and people that deal with this all the time. County Commissioner Enfield stated, just like purchasing a milling machine, maybe we need to go together and start with equipment. Commissioner Garcia stated, our next joint meeting is April 16th and you stated you want limited agenda to get something accomplished. Let’s discuss sales tax, law enforcement and fire. County Commissioner Enfield stated, it is important farmers are aware what is going on to prevent coffee shop talk. Vice-Mayor Brumbaugh stated, I-70 is our biggest asset, we need to support investors like the Irvin’s. Steve Evert County Citizen stated, I feel you going right direction, start discussion early and work together to benefit community. Steve Duell County Citizen stated, I feel education is important but do not feel an increase in sales tax will work. Use free money we get from people stopping off interstate; it is a source of a lot of dollars. We have to maintain our east and west roads that feed Goodland.
ADJOURNMENT OF CITY WAS HAD ON A MOTION Commissioner Garcia seconded by Commissioner Schields. Motion carried by unanimous VOTE, meeting Adjourned at 9:20 a.m.
ATTEST: Jay Dee Brumbaugh, Vice-Mayor
Mary P. Volk, City Clerk