Riley County commissioners reviewed a draft presentation for the proposed 0.2 sales tax Thursday.

The presentation served as an informational tool regarding what the tax would cover.  Included in the presentation was current projects using the current sales tax, what will be included in future projects, and why to use sales tax.

The sales tax is proposed for projects in areas of Riley County outside of Manhattan and would be used to generate funds for road and bridge replacements and repairs.

Public Works Director John Ellerman says the county has 230 miles of roads, 135 bridges, 479 large culverts, and 3,700 small culverts.

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Ellerman says this statistic shows the county has been using the money from the current sales tax efficiently.  The continued use of these roads and bridges from bigger vehicles has accelerated the deterioration.

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Ellerman says putting off these projects can lead to increase costs across the board when it comes to replacements.  The proposed tax has earmarked 23 projects using this funding.

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It’s estimated the 0.2 sales tax would generate roughly $1.8 million annually for the projects over five years.  The current county/city half cent sales tax is set to expire at the end of 2022 and Ellerman says this proposal would replace it.

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Ellerman says using property taxes rather than sales tax would bring an increase of 2.6 mills to the county mill levy.

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Commission Chair John Ford says with the addition of NBAF, the number of exempt properties increases to around 40% to 45%.

The roughly $10 million expected to be generated from the sales tax will be split with $9 million going towards projects, and $1 million going to the smaller cities in the county.

Voters will decide on the sales tax question in November for the general election.  The ballot question has not yet been created.

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