Among many things on the June 26 ballot, voters in the city of Shawnee will decide whether to enact a temporary, half-penny sales tax for 10 years.
That tax, if passed, would provide about $30 million for improvements to streets and roads, parks and other major public facilities, as well as public safety. It would become effective Oct. 1.
No one ever wants to pay more in sales tax.
We get it.
But we feel Shawnee — to continue to grow and provide better services and a better quality of life for its residents — really needs this sales tax.
City Manager Justin Erickson says the sales tax funds from this measure can only be spent on capital improvements.
Public Safety and Streets/Roads would each get: 25% (0.125% sales tax), while parks and public facilities would get 50 percent of the half-penny (0.125% sales tax).
Big ticket items in the area of public safety call for a new police headquarters building to house the department outside of the current basement in city hall, as well as a new fire engine and fire station improvements, fire training as well as a new emergency management warning system.
All of those are logical and needed now and as the city continues to grow. We think residents deserve the best from its emergency services.
As far as roads, many would agree there are many roads that should be better.
The big project for streets and roads with this tax would be a major improvement to 45th Street from Kickapoo to Harrison, as well as funds allocated for routine maintenance, repaving and concrete panel replacement to city roads.
And when it comes to parks and public spaces, funding would include improvements at six key parks as well as major enhancements to the Shawnee Expo Center, funds for sidewalks and trails and major improvements to the Senior Center, Community Center, Santa Fe Depot and Library buildings.
All of these things can only enhance the Shawnee community and quality of life for area residents.
We are in favor of the half-penny tax.
The return on this 10-year sales tax investment will be a priceless game-changer for the city and those who live here, both now and in the many years to come.
Shawnee is worth it. We're all worth it.