February 6, 2016

City adds to slush fund with tax increase

Gardner City Council members decided to add to a slush fund during a council meeting last week.
Members agreed to raise the transient sales tax, despite the additional tax not being included in the 2014 budget. To do so, they repealed the original ordinance in its entirety.
This means those tax dollars don’t have a name, as Dave Ramsey, personal radio finance guy would say. The radio host implores listeners to determine where every dollar will go before it is received.
It’s sound financial advice. Those who use it know exactly how much they spend and on what. But the city’s new-found revenue apparently isn’t earmarked for anything specific.
The extra dollars, which are paid by those who stay in Gardner’s lone hotel, won’t be used to lower residents’ tax bills. Instead, they’ll be used for “economic growth, “ which has always been a moving target for the city.
Most recently tax funds have been given to Gardner’s chamber of commerce, museum and theater groups; If the city is going to continue to give out transient tax monies, we believe all of the entities should be equally required to request the funding, detail how it will be used and report the net result of economic development and tourism promotion. Requests should also be solicited from all interested community organizations equally. There should be a standard, written policy, and those organizations that can’t show how they’ve benefited the community in terms of growth and tourism should be thrown promptly off the government gravy train.
But maybe the most disturbing part of increasing the tax from 6 percent to 8 percent is that all of the city council members seemed to agree that as long as local people aren’t paying the tax, they are okay with it.
As council member Larry Fotovich intoned, “I don’t see how anyone can get excited about a tax even if it’s a tax on someone else.”
We agree.
We’re a little disappointed in Gardner council’s continued money grab. Although their working budget indicates growth is flat in most department’s, taxes, fees and utility rates continue to be increased and more than 10 new positions are being added while basic infrastructure needs remain unfunded.
Now additional taxes are being levied on Gardner’s guests, who are possibly friends and family members of current residents.
This tax  increases our bed tax 2 percent above neighboring Olathe and puts us on par with Lenexa and Leawood. The tax will add to bottom-line room rates and affect competition. It may also make it more difficult to lure additional hotels; neighboring Spring Hill has a bed tax half of Gardner’s.
We’re curious as to why this tax increase was necessary and why there was such limited public discussion surrounding it.
With no purpose or reasoning, the added dollars are likely to be used as a slush fund .


  1. Judith Rogers says:

    Gardner City Hall is an expert at the shell game…………they move that shell (our money) around faster than the eye can behold and certainly faster than those rubber stampers on the Council can keep up with.

    The Gardner Bed & Breakfast tax to me is a holdup tax for travelers staying here overnight in our luxury accommodations (tongue in cheek) there by I-35. That tax from what I have read is for the thieves aka economic development jaybirds who always want the citizens to pay the costs rather than them because it would cut down on their standout profits or they use the funds to run after the thieves trying to get them to come here and bring about more financial rape of our citizens.. Here a few months ago I was watching the old movie of How the West was Won and in that story it showed one of the rivers that was very important for trappers and citizens going west to use as a means of transportation at that time in our history. There would be friendly lowlifes along the river enticing travelers to stop for this or that and then they would steal these travelers blind and probably killed many of them. About the same thing going on today but just a different label to it – it is amazing to me to see how brazen our government entities are in producing revenue by many different methods and it doesn’t even throw off their moral compass and that is because they no longer have one.

    It doesn’t surprise me in the least to see they have increased the holdup fee – goes with the morally corrupt territory in my opinion.

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