2022 Parks + Recreation Sales Tax Initiative
In September 2022, Mission voters were asked to consider renewing a dedicated parks and recreation sales tax that has been in place since 2013. Mail ballots were due on September 20, and the unofficial totals show passage of the renewal by a considerable margin. The County Board of Canvassers will meet to review provisional ballots and certify final results Tuesday, September 27.
Past Successes Over the last ten years, this tax had enabled reconstruction of the Mission Family Aquatic Center, improvements to the Powell Community Center, the Andersen Park tennis courts, and jumpstarted improvements to Mohawk Park.
Future Plans The revenues generated from the tax will allow the City to make investments in our outdoor parks that we have not seen in a generation. After getting community input, conceptual design plans have been created that include improvements like updated walking trails, new play structures, bathrooms, pavilions, a dog park and more. View the conceptual design plans here.
To learn more about what is proposed, please see the Frequently Asked Questions below.
Ballot Question Details
Q: Is this a new tax?
A: The three-eighths percent sales tax (0.375%) approved by voters in 2012 for parks and recreation expires in March 2023. This dedicated citywide retailers’ sales tax for parks and recreation will continue at the same rate of ⅜ percent (0.375%).
Q: Why did the City ask to renew this sales tax?
A: When this sales tax first took effect April 1, 2013, the majority of revenues were dedicated to a complete renovation of the Mission Family Aquatic Center (MFAC). In addition to the improvements to the outdoor pool, the other priority projects for the sales tax included:
- Addressing deferred maintenance at Powell Community Center (PCC)
- Creating a Parks Master Plan
- Creating maintenance reserve funds for MFAC and PCC
- Maintaining and expanding the trail network
- Developing conceptual plans for outdoor park improvements
- Beginning to implement outdoor park improvements
Many of the goals and objectives laid out in the 2012 plan have been accomplished. Continued progress, especially with respect to maintenance of and upgrades to the outdoor park system, hinge on successful renewal of the parks and recreation sales tax. Through citizen feedback collected through the DirectionFinder Survey process in 2021, residents continue to express a desire for investment in high-quality, well-maintained park facilities and popular, well-attended recreation and enrichment programs.
Q: What is the ballot language?
A: Shall the following be adopted? Shall the City of Mission, Kansas be authorized to: (1) renew the citywide retailers’ sales tax currently imposed at three-eighths percent (3/8%) (the “Sales Tax”), the proceeds of which shall be used only to finance the costs of the acquiring, constructing, improving and equipping parks and recreational facilities and related appurtenances thereto (the “Project”) and paying costs of operation and maintenance of the Project; the collection of such Sales Tax to commence on April 1, 2023, or as soon thereafter as may be permitted by law, and shall terminate ten years after the commencement; and (2) issue sales tax revenue and/or general obligation bonds in a principal amount of not to exceed $15,000,000 to pay the costs of the Project and associated interest costs on such bonds during construction of the Project and payment of bond issuance costs; all pursuant to K.S.A. 10-101 et seq., K.S.A. 12-187 et seq., and K.S.A. 25-431 et seq., as amended?
Q: What would have happened if the sales tax wasn’t renewed?
A: City services are generally funded by either property taxes, sales taxes or user fees. If voters chose not to approve this sales tax, the City will have had to consider alternative ways to fund the important parks and recreation projects this tax pays for. The projects funded by the sales tax contribute to the overall quality of life in our community and the existing parks and recreation assets deserve to be maintained in the way our residents expect. The sales tax provides approximately $1 million annually for parks and recreation, without it the only other revenue dedicated specifically to parks and recreation is a portion of the special alcohol tax that generates $125,000 annually.
Q: How long will this sales tax be in effect?
A: This special purpose sales tax is an important part of the City’s long-term capital improvement program and plans for parks and recreation amenities. Sales taxes of this type (dedicated to a specific purpose) may be authorized for 10-year periods of time in accordance with State statutes. If approved, the sales tax would expire in March 2033.
Q: Why was the election held in 2022?
A: The revenue stream from this sales tax makes up a significant portion (89%) of the City’s funds dedicated to capital investments in Mission’s parks and recreation system. The original dedicated parks and recreation sales tax expires in March 2023. By considering the renewal in September 2022, there will be no lapse or break in the sales tax collections and maintenance work and upgrades to our parks and recreational facilities, particularly the outdoor parks, can continue with no interruptions.
Use of Revenues
Q: How many parks and recreation facilities does the City operate and maintain?
A: The City of Mission maintains 8 parks which includes approximately 5 miles of walking trails, sports fields, playgrounds, picnic areas, and open-use green spaces. The City also maintains the Powell Community Center and the Mission Family Aquatic Center. Maintenance needs for parks and recreation facilities range from maintaining heating and cooling systems for indoor facilities, repairing It has also provided for a complete update to the tennis courts in Andersen Park and is funding the first phase of improvements to Mohawk Park which will add restrooms, a new pavilion and relocate the parking lot.
Q: What has this tax paid for over the last ten years?
A: Over the last 10 years, the dedicated parks and recreation sales tax has helped fund the construction of a new Mission Family Aquatic Center (MFAC), addressed deferred maintenance at Powell Community Center (PCC), and created a Parks Master Plan. The funding from this tax has also allowed the City to pursue the creation of maintenance reserve funds for the MFAC and PCC, maintain and expand trail network, and develop conceptual plans for outdoor park improvements. It has also provided for a complete update to the tennis courts in Andersen Park and is funding the first phase of improvements to Mohawk Park which will add restrooms, a new pavilion and relocate the parking lot.
Q: How much money will this sales tax generate?
A: The ⅜-cent sales tax will generate approximately $1 million annually to be dedicated to parks and recreation maintenance, upgrades and enhancements – especially to Mission’s outdoor park system.
Q: What other sources of money does the City currently dedicate to parks and recreation?
A: In addition to the current sales tax revenues, the City receives approximately $125,000 in special alcohol funds annually which must be spent on parks and recreation programs and services. The annual operating expenses for the Powell Community Center and Mission family Aquatic Center are paid from the City’s General Fund revenues. The dedicated parks and recreation sales tax covers large scale capital project and investments. These funds are also used to leverage outside grant funds, including approximately $400,000 currently being used to complete the Phase I improvements in Mohawk Park.
Q: What is the City’s long-term budget and plan for parks and recreation maintenance and repairs?
A: Maintenance of parks and recreational facilities is an ongoing responsibility. Using a dedicated sales tax to fund important capital projects relieves the General Fund of the need for parks to compete with other basic services such as public works and public safety. While there are plans to further enhance Mission’s outdoor parks system, a primary goal of the sales tax renewal is also to ensure the City can maintain the integrity and safety of City parks and recreational facilities.
Q: Are there restrictions on how this these revenues can be used?
A: The dedicated parks and recreation sales tax revenues are set aside and accounted for separate from other City revenues. They may only be used to pay for improvements outlined in the ballot language, including operations, maintenance and construction of parks and recreation amenities. The funds may only be used to make debt service payments for larger projects or should the City Council wish to accelerate the planned improvements to the outdoor parks system.
Q: How do I know when a park or recreational facility I use often will be scheduled for improvements or updates?
A: The City has completed conceptual plans for each of the major outdoor parks (Mohawk, Broadmoor, Waterworks, Streamway and Andersen). View a summary of that work here. Tentative timelines for improvements have been developed in the event the parks and recreation sales tax is renewed. Improvements to the Powell Community Center and Mission Family Aquatic Center are reviewed and approved annually as a part of the City’s budget and 5-year Capital Improvement Program processes.
Sales Tax Details
Q: What is Mission’s current total sales tax rate?
A: The City of Mission’s current sales tax rate is 9.75%, allocated as follows:
State of Kansas 6.500%*
Johnson County 1.475%
City of Mission
Parks & Rec. 0.375%
* Beginning in January 2023, the State sales tax on grocery purchases will roll back, eventually reducing to 0.0% by January 2025.
Q: How much will this sales tax cost the average Mission shopper?
A: Passage of the ballot initiative does not increase the current sales tax rate. The amount of the overall tax rate dedicated to parks and recreation is three-eighths percent (0.375%). That means that you pay $0.04 on a $10 purchase and $0.38 on a $100 purchase. You will pay the same amount you have been paying for the past ten years.
Q: Why a sales tax and not something else?
A: Dedicated retailers’ sales taxes are a common way to pay for infrastructure improvements in communities because the costs are shared by both residents and visitors. Many who use Mission’s park amenities for special events, organized sports leagues, as non-resident members of the Powell Community Center or the outdoor pool, or as visitors to Mission’s outdoor parks do not live in Mission. Funding these programs, services and improvements with a sales tax helps relieve Mission residents and businesses from paying 100% of the costs. For every sales tax dollar collected in Mission, about $0.38 comes from people outside of the community.
Key Dates (2022)
- Aug. 30: Voter Registration Deadline
- Aug. 31: Town Hall at PCC, 5:30 PM (or via Zoom)
- Sept. 6: Ballots Begin Arriving
- Sept. 20: Ballots Due to Election Office, by 12:00 PM
Penn Almoney, Director, Park+ Recreation