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Overland Park to consider sales tax increase for road repairs

New revenue could lead to less chip sealing
op chip seal.JPG
Posted at 4:00 AM, Mar 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-02 08:39:23-05

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — City leaders in Overland Park, Kansas, are considering an increase to the city’s sales tax rate in order to pay for road and traffic infrastructure projects.

The proposal comes after an advisory group recommended the city increase its budget for road repairs.

The proposal, which goes before the city council Monday, March 6, would raise an existing sales tax, which has been around since the 1990s, from 1/8 of 1% to 3/8 of 1%.

City staff estimate raising the higher rate would generate an extra $16 million beginning in 2025 — the first full year under the new rate.

The increase requires voter approval. The earliest voters could see a ballot is during a mail-in election this June.

If approved, the new rate would take effect in April 2024.

Increasing the city’s budget means project managers could reduce the amount of “chip sealing” crews complete.

Since 2016, KSHB 41 News has documented residents’ opposition to chip sealing. Again in 2021, residents spoke out before a city council vote.

Chip sealing is a common method to preserve asphalt roads. Crews pour a seal of hot oil over a road, then layer it with peddles, or chips.

Many municipalities use the technique because it is much cheaper than other common replacement techniques like milling or overlaying.

Residents argue the chips make roads feel like gravel instead of pavement and pose a safety risk.

Overland Park generally chip seals about 170 lane miles of asphalt every year. There are about 2,000 lane miles of asphalt road in Overland Park.

Anyone can view which streets the city plans to chip seal by accessing an online map.