Fairway to vote on sales-tax hike

04/15/2014 5:34 PM

04/15/2014 5:35 PM

Fairway residents will have the opportunity to vote on a half percent sales tax increase to pay for improvements to the city’s pool and public works facility at the end of April.

Beginning Tuesday, the city will conduct a mail ballot election for a proposal that would increase the city’s retail sales tax from 1.5 percent to 2 percent for 20 years. If approved, the tax would raise about $253,000 a year to cover $3.95 million in bonds that the city would issue.

With state and county taxes, Fairway’s total sales tax would increase from 8.875 to 9.375 percent.

That money would be split between upgrades at the city’s public works facility, the pool and city parks, said Kathy Axelson, Fairway’s city administrator and clerk. The city last raised taxes by half a percent in 2009 to cover city services and the capital outlay fund.

The pool, adjacent to the Neale Peterson Park at 62nd Street and Mission Road, has been in need of improvements for sometime, said Nathan Nogelmeier, director of parks and recreation. Aside from some deck improvements in the late 1980s and early 2000s, the pool has not been remodeled since it was built in the 1950s.

The city will use $1.7 million to $1.8 million to rebuild the bathhouse, which Nogelmeier said is too small for the pool’s average attendance, add lighting, improve the pumphouse, increase shaded areas and add a multipurpose area for training and large parties.

Additionally, the pool needs a number of upgrades to meet requirements set by the Americans with Disabilities Act, he said. One change would combine the small wading pool and the main pool with a large zero-depth entry area. All these improvements will be done with the character of the neighborhood in mind, Nogelmeier said.

“We know it’s not a major aquatic center and our visitors know that,” he said.

The city also will use the bonds for improvements at other parks, including resurfacing the tennis courts and upgrading playground equipment. That brings the parks and recreation total to $2.3 million, but Nogelmeier said those projects can be put off if the public works department needs more funding.

Like the pool, the public works facility at 5505 Buena Vista Ave. has not been updated since the 1950s, Axelson said. That facility will receive new buildings as well as improvements to the existing ones.

Ballots for the tax election will be mailed Tuesday and must be turned into the Johnson County Election Office, 2101 E Kansas City Road, Olathe, by noon May 13.

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