The sales tax rate in Finney County is about to increase, effective Sunday.

In November, Finney County voters authorized a .30 percent, or .3-cent, sales tax increase to fund improvements to Jennie Barker Road, construction of a new fire station, construction of an indoor gun range and improvements at Lee Richardson Zoo.

The increase brings the new combined sales tax rates in unincorporated Finney County to 7.95 percent, Holcomb to 8.45 percent, Garden City to 8.95 percent, and the Garden City Stone Development to 9.95 percent.

The Stone Development includes Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom, the Heritage Inn, Parrot Cove Water Park, Core Fitness, Stone Creek Plaza complex, the Clarion Inn and the Sleep Inn.

The tax will expire in 15 years and is estimated to generate $2.15 million annually.

The sales tax passed in November with nearly 57 percent of the vote.

Improvements to Jennie Barker Road will be implemented in the portion between Schulman Avenue and Kansas Highway 156. The tax also will fund staffing and construction of a new fire station to be located on the east side of Garden City, where there is increasing demand for emergency services, according to city officials.

The indoor gun range funded by the tax will replace the current facility utilized by the Garden City Police Department. The existing facility is deteriorating and presents safety risks to officers and the public who use it, according to city officials.

Improvements at the zoo will include a new animal health facility, a new primate exhibit and a new flamingo exhibit. City officials say the Association of Zoos and Aquariums recommended all three zoo-related projects for the well-being of zoo animals and staff.

Deb Fief, owner of Discount Liquor and a resident of Garden City, said she thinks using sales tax is a good way to fund the projects.

“I think it’s a great idea for sales tax to be increased because it hits not only the homeowners but it hits people of all factors,” she said. “So whether you own real estate or not, everybody is inclined to pay the same amount in sales tax, and I think that’s a greater way to accumulate that kind of revenue.”

Fief noted that liquor and cigarette sales apply a different tax and are not affected by local sales tax.

Tim Regan, owner of Regan Jewelers, says he wishes the incremental increase would add up to an even sales tax number, even if it reached 9 percent. Still, he added that he doesn’t think the increase will affect business much, even in the jewelry business, where expensive purchases are more common.

“We’ve rolled with the punches, good, bad or indifferent, for a long time,” he said. “We’ll continue to roll with the punches, good, bad or indifferent, for a long time.”

Candy Davis, a Holcomb resident, says she doesn’t think the increase will make much of a difference, even though the amount keeps building little by little.

She said she thinks the funding mechanism is a good alternative to a property tax increase and that the projects that will be funded are “good projects.”

Garden City Manager Matt Allen says that whether businesses update their sales tax collection rate on Sunday, they would still be responsible for payment of the new tax increment.

Questions regarding the increase can be directed to the Kansas Department of Revenue at (785) 368-8222.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the Garden City Stone Development includes the Schulman Crossing Shopping Center.

 

Contact Mark Minton at mminton@gctelegram.com.