With a call for an election approved Monday by the Finney County Commission, residents will decide this fall whether to renew or halt a 0.25% sales tax that has helped fund building and road maintenance in the county for 12 years.

The Building and Road and Maintenance Program, or BRMP, sales tax is an existing tax that for years has distributed funds to Finney County, the City of Garden City and the City of Holcomb for various road, bridge and renovation projects, said County Administrator Randy Partington. Each year, Finney County and Garden City each receive about $1 million from the tax, and Holcomb receives about $80,000, he said.

The tax must be renewed by a county vote every six years to continue. If the public votes to renew it this November, it will be effective Oct. 1, 2021, through September 2027. Commissioners said they intend to direct staff to issue an education campaign about the tax leading up to the election.

“I think it is important that we get that word out and be proactive about this,” said Commissioner Lon Pishny.

The results of the vote will determine how the county approaches its 2021 budgeting process, Partington said.

Finney County has used the tax to fund overlay and other road repairs to unincorporated areas of the county, bridge maintenance and renovations to the Finney County Public Library, Courthouse and Administrative Center, Partington said. The remainder goes to emergency needs at county-owned buildings for other building and road projects cut or not covered by property taxes, he said.

The sales tax helps local government offset property taxes, and its revenue is equal to what the county would earn from 2 mills a year, Partington said. With the county’s tax lid, an unrenewed BRMP tax would likely not mean a 2-mill property tax increase, said Commissioner Larry Jones. Instead, lacking funds may affect the projects themselves.

“A lot of these projects would not have taken place,” Jones said.

 

Contact Amber Friend at afriend@gctelegram.com.