Riley County commission to continue half cent sales tax in the future

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Riley County commissioners will not put a half cent sales tax continuation on this year’s ballot, but will before 2023.

County Clerk Rich Vargo says a Manhattan City commission agenda states the new citywide half cent sales will replace the county’s, which is not correct. County department heads were confused and brought this to the commission. Commissioner Marvin Rodriguez says this was done by the city help them pass it and the county commission needs to take action.

“I just feel that it’s a misrepresentation.  If we don’t take action they may in their wisdom, if you want to say it that way, are trying to say it’s replacing he county tax,” says Rodriguez. “I say we pass it and go on.”

Commissioner Ron Wells says the city needs to treat the county fairly by continuing the current sales tax to help benefit the smaller towns. All three commissioners want to continue the current tax, but Wells and Commissioner John Ford do not want to put it on this election ballot.  Ford says if both sales tax questions are on the ballot, then neither will pass.

“We’re responsible for a lot of the economic downturn whether it’s good or bad and a lot of the people I have talked to aren’t looking at that right now.  They’re looking at saving their businesses and jobs,” says Ford.  Whether or not we get our tax bases for whatever it is we want right now, isn’t a priority to anybody.”

Rodriguez has been wanting to put the sales tax question on this year’s ballot because of how helpful it has been for the smaller towns in the county. Rodriguez has also stated previously that he fears it will be harder to pass the sales tax next year, since there is a chance there may be new commissioners.

“Let’s say both of them don’t pass; well that’s okay because we’re all neutral.  But if theirs passes, we’re sunk and I’d rather not be sunk,” says Rodriguez.

The commission released a press release to let the public know that the citywide sales tax does not replace the countywide sales tax.  The release also says they will put the sales tax question on a ballot, but not this year and before 2023.
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Sam Hennigh

County government and school board reporter. 2016 Kansas State University graduate in Journalism and Mass Communications. Kansas born and raised.

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