Independence leaders are making a second request to voters Tuesday to apply a use tax to online sales.
Proposition P asks voters if the city can impose a local use tax at the same rate as local sales tax (2.25 percent), with funds going toward animal shelter operations and more police officers. The city seeks to capture online tax revenues to offset stagnant brick-and-mortar sales tax revenues.
Independence first asked voters for the use tax in April 2018, but voters turned it down with more than 60 percent voting no.
Specifically, if Prop P passes, the city would split those revenues to help fund the animal shelter and up to 30 new police officer positions. Initially, the city anticipates that would be $1.5 million – $750,000 apiece – each year. The city took over Regional Animal Shelter operations earlier this month after non-profit Great Plains SPCA left early in its contract with the city and county, and adding more police officers has long been on the city's wish list.
The portion of funds earmarked for police would fund seven or eight positions, the city projects. As use tax revenues rise above $1.5 million, animal shelter funding would stay steady, adjusted for inflation, and monies beyond that would go toward police. That would continue until the funding for 30 officers is reached, and only then would any new money go into the general fund. Even with steady growth in use tax revenues, city and campaign leaders say, the city would not reach that point for at least a decade.
Citizen oversight committees would monitor the tax funds, similar to what the city has in place for parks.
Polls are open 6 a.m to 7 p.m. next Tuesday.