Council acts on sales tax, police station bonds

·2 min read

Nov. 16—A trio of actions taken by the Great Bend City Council Monday night set into motion the new city sales taxes approved by voters during the Nov. 2 general election, as well as the project to build a new Police Station.

First, it adopted an ordinance authorizing the levy of the three citywide retailers' sales taxes in the aggregate amount of .45%.

The governing body had to pass the ordinance to move forward, said David Arteberry with Stifel, Nicolaus & Company of Kansas City, Mo., the firm picked as the city's municipal advisor. "This is the official action you need to take to move forward," he said.

"Congratulations on passing the sales taxes," Ateberry said. In these uncertain economic times, it shows that the voters support the direction the city is headed.

The taxes included:

—.10%- debt service construction of a new police station with a 20-year sunset. The estimated revenue comes to $377,752 per year.

The estimated $7.3 million, 20,000-square-foot facility at 12th and Baker on what is now a city parking lot and will also house the Municipal Court.

It should be paid off before the sunset. Any funds generated after that will roll into an account to pay off future debts.

—.15% — quality of life improvements with no sunset. The estimated revenue comes to $566,628 per year.

This covers improvements to parks and other recreational facilities, as well as maintenance.

—.20% — pension for public safety personnel (police and fire) with no sunset. The estimated revenue comes to $755,504 per year.

The .45% total for all three would the city's sales tax rate to 8.75%. Now, the ordinance will go to the Kansas Department of Revenue and will go into effect April 1, 2022, Ateberry said.

Second, the council approved a resolution authorizing the construction of a new Police Station and providing for the payment of the costs by issuing bonds, Ateberry said. They are working with Gilmore & Bell, P.C. of Wichita which is serving as the city's bond counsel.

Third was the approval of a resolution authorizing the sale of bonds to fund the project. The city has $1.5 set aside for it so the city is selling the bonds totalling about $5.5 million to cover the balance.

He said the plan is to come back before the council when it meets on Dec. 6 with the bond sale results. At that time, principle and interest rate will be finalized.

The goal is to structure the bonds so the payments are close to the total generated by the .10% tax, but slightly lower to give a margin of safety.

A construction schedule for the facility has not yet been determined. But, city officials are targeting a spring start time with 12-month construction window.

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