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KC Council panel defers action on proposed ballot measures

300 dpi Fred Matamoros color illustration of paper vote in ballot box on American flag. The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.) 2007__america votes illustration ballot box democracy voting latch hinge krtgovernment government, krtnational national, krtpolitics politics, krteln election, krtuspolitics, u.s. us united states, krt, mctillustration, elecciones eleccion americano votacion urna bandera aspecto aspectos negocios ilustracion grabado tc contributor coddington matamoros mct mct2007, 2007, krt2007 ORG XMIT: K41462EI
300 dpi Fred Matamoros color illustration of paper vote in ballot box on American flag. The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.) 2007__america votes illustration ballot box democracy voting latch hinge krtgovernment government, krtnational national, krtpolitics politics, krteln election, krtuspolitics, u.s. us united states, krt, mctillustration, elecciones eleccion americano votacion urna bandera aspecto aspectos negocios ilustracion grabado tc contributor coddington matamoros mct mct2007, 2007, krt2007 ORG XMIT: K41462EI MCT

Two groups — one opposing billboards and the other nuclear weapons — each urged a Kansas City Council Committee on Wednesday to let voters take a stand on their causes.

The council’s Planning and Zoning Committee instead postponed a decision on the proposed ballot measures until next week, which is the deadline to approve items for the Nov. 6 ballot.

One ordinance seeks voter approval for a 2 percent tax on billboard companies’ gross annual revenue, to help pay for reducing or eliminating billboard blight.

City Manager Troy Schulte estimated the tax could raise about $112,000 each year, allowing the hiring of an additional enforcement officer and some funds to address unsightly billboards.

“They’re more obnoxious than they are effective,” billboard opponent Frances Semler said in urging support for the ballot measure.

But representatives of several billboard companies said outdoor advertising creates jobs and helps small business. They complained that their industry is being unfairly singled out for a tax.

The second ballot measure would bar the city from entering into future contracts relating to nuclear weapons components. This is the third time a group called the Peace Planters has gathered petition signatures to limit Kansas City’s involvement with nuclear weapons.

The peace group insists this latest effort won’t halt the weapons plant under construction in south Kansas City, but city council members and others on Wednesday still questioned whether it will unlawfully interfere with future operations at the new plant.

The committee expects to wrap up debate on the proposals Aug. 22.

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