MISSION. Business owners, residents and other concerned citizens packed a Mission City Council meeting on Wednesday evening to protest a new “driveway tax” that affects homeowners, businesses and even churches.
The transportation utility fee, or TUF tax, is intended for street improvements.
Ward 2 Councilman Will Vandenberg attempted to make a motion to reconsider the issue, but instead the issue was added to a committee agenda to be considered at a later date.
During the public comment portion of the meeting most spoke against the driveway tax, but a few spoke in favor.
Public Comment section of Mission City Council Meeting
Dave Conradt, Overland Park:
“Lower taxes mean more jobs and more people.”
“I’m thinking businesses may not be feeling very welcome [in Mission] right now.”
Currie Myers, Mission:
“The economics behind your decision will produce just the opposite of what you think it will produce. It will produce less revenue into the public coffers, especially over time.”
“These tax increases have far reaching consequences and greater economic cost than the benefit of a short term increase in tax revenues.”
“There’s a particular burden on the seniors with this TUF.”
“The most vulnerable members of society are often hurt the worst by poor tax policies.”
“Small business has a narrow profit margin. In one example a Mission business now has a $1600 TUF fee along with a 217 percent increase in storm water fees that must be accounted for out of their profit margin.”
“Large businesses are being assessed anywhere from $30,000 to $65,000 for the TUF. Now with storm water increases the total cost of doing business in Mission may rise 8 to 12 percent. If your profit margins are 10 percent how do they adjust to ensure profitability to their stakeholders?
“This TUF and your storm water increases have had, and will continue to cause an economic harm regarding investment and business profitability.”
“From the time period of 2003 to 2009 general government expenditures in Mission have increased 248 percent. The city does not have a revenue problem, you have a spending problem.”
“I don’t understand why the residents and the businesses would think their city council and city government would not care. You’re one of us.”
“In this current economy I feel like your causing further suffering to the private sector … You’ve failed to effectively manage a budget and plan for the future.”
“You are voting assessments so you don’t have to legally put a tax hike on the ballot. Charging businesses for customers using their parking lots, residents for driving on the roads, and churches per pew … these assessments have no ceiling or sunset. “
“You have fostered in us an ‘us’ against ‘them’ mentality that I feel is totally inappropriate for a city like Mission to have.”
Frank Bruce, Mission:
“I’m disappointed in my city government.”
“You as a group have abdicated your fiduciary responsibility for the citizens, your business community, and your religious community.”
“…ludicrous expending of $6400 for fireworks at the tree lighting ceremony..”
“We are not against progress in our fine city.”
“I would like to have a plebiscite of those in attendance who oppose the driveway tax. Would you please raise your hands. …. The article in the Sun today said you guys weren’t aware of anybody that was opposed to this tax. [laughter]“
“Now, I would like to have a show of hands on the council whose willing to rescind …”
Mayor Laura McConwell: “That’s not appropriate. You’re making a public comment to the council.”
Several in audience: “What? Say that again.”
Bruce: “It’s inappropriate. I can’t make that comment to the council. They’re not accountable to us.”
Unidentified woman in audience: “Excuse me, they work for us, not …”
Bruce: “No, you’ve got it wrong.” [laughter]
Additional videos from those speaking during the 50-minute public comment portion of the meeting will be added to this article.
Mission Mayor Laura McConwell agreed to be interviewed at a later date. In particular McConwell would like to address misconceptions she says are used by some of the opponents of the tax.
- Some Want Mission’s ‘Driveway Tax’ Repealed, KMBC, Nov. 17, 2010.
- As Bills Arrive, Mission Residents Protest ‘Driveway Tax’, KCTV, Nov. 17, 2010.
- Some Mission Residents Unhappy About ‘Driveway Tax’. Fox4 KC, Nov. 17, 2010.
- Residents to protest new driveway tax, Sun Publications, Nov. 17, 2010.
- Mission Councilman calls for repeal of “driveway tax,” NBC Action News, Nov. 17, 2010.
Contact: Earl F Glynn, firstname.lastname@example.org, KansasWatchdog.org