Timing of vote critical for necessary funding.
Finney County commissioners had cause to put a tax-related question before voters in the November general election.
General elections, after all, usually draw more voters than primaries.
And knowing ultraconservative Republicans who are more likely to dismiss any tax plan regardless of the potential good often do a better job of heading to the polls than mainstream Kansans — as demonstrated in the recent primary election — it's important to encourage as many voters as possible to consider the issue.
And this particular tax proposal does indeed warrant voter support.
On Nov. 6, Finney County voters will have the option of extending a countywide, quarter-cent sales tax initially approved in April 2009. The sales tax generates an estimated $1.6 million annually to maintain and repair bridges, roads and other infrastructure, with funds at work in Garden City, Holcomb and throughout Finney County.
The current sales tax is set to expire Sept. 30, 2015. Voters in the county will be asked whether to continue the tax for another six years, from Oct. 1, 2015, to Sept. 20, 2021.
In their plan to act ahead of the tax's 2015 sunset, commissioners noted there are few eligible general election dates between now and the fall of that year to present such a question to voters.
Commissioners no doubt believe a low voter turnout would hurt chances of the plan being approved, a setback they understandably would like to avoid.
The sales tax allocation was crafted to address the ongoing challenges of meeting infrastructure needs without adding to the property tax burden. That hasn't changed.
And while no one likes taxes of any kind, reasonable citizens at least should acknowledge the funds are needed to help pay for infrastructure and services that keep communities strong. Delaying fixes to roads and buildings only leads to more significant costs down the line.
By putting the question on the November ballot, commissioners improved the chances of the sales tax being continued as a way to adequately fund essential maintenance projects — and, by doing so, likely countered any sort of campaign that may be waged to undermine the sensible investment.