Johnson County cities reap new tax revenue

JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. - Come January, cities in Johnson County will be beneficiaries of the newly approved Johnson County public safety sales tax.

The 1/4-cent tax, passed in a 53 to 47 percent vote in Tuesday’s election, will fund a new $182 million courthouse and a $19 million coroner facility.

By Kansas state law, 37 percent of the county tax revenue will be directed to city municipalities over the next 10 years.

Here’s a breakdown of the payouts:

“In a sense it is somewhat of a blank check,” said Johnson County District Attorney Stephen Howe, who facilitated the push for the tax.

How each city spends the money is up to city council approval, and the revenue does not have to go toward public safety.

None of the top 5 cities on the list yet have a plan on how to spend the money, citing it was premature to begin discussions before the tax passed.

In Overland Park, the city manager will provide recommendations to the city council in December.

That process will not begin until January at the earliest in Shawnee.

Olathe’s city manager Tim Dannenberg told at 41 Action News that the money will be spent on one-time capital expenses like repairing roads and buildings rather than recurring operational costs like hiring new staff.

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Brian Abel can be reached at brian.abel@kshb.com. 

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