Archive for Thursday, March 22, 2001

DeSoto City Council wise to raise excise tax


March 22, 2001

The DeSoto City Council used sound judgment when it recently decided to raise the excise tax assessed on newly-platted land from 13 to 14 cents a square foot. The revenue will fund improvements to the city streets, sidewalks and street lighting.

That's a great start for a city that is lagging behind in new development fees.

A survey of the rates assessed by nearby Johnson County communities shows that DeSoto is a bargain for developers. That may be good news to those in the development business, but bad news for the City of DeSoto.

DeSoto charges new developers a flat rate of $500 per sewer hookup and adds another $100 for inspection. Gardner charges $2,230 for a single-family or duplex sewer hookup and $1,485 for each multi-family unit connection.

The fees have not seemed to discourage developers from building in the rapidly growing city of Gardner. Lenexa and Shawnee also charge more than three times what DeSoto charges developers for sewer hookups.

DeSoto City Councilman Linda Zindler urged her fellow councilmen to take a closer look at DeSoto's water and sewer hookup fees. She also called for a comprehensive plan for how the fees would be spent.

The council would be wise to follow Zindler's lead.

The benefits of residential growth are the increased tax base it provides and the infrastructure provided by the developers. As the number of homes increases in a community, so does the need for roads, sidewalks, etc.

Placing some of that burden on those building the homes is a proven way for a city to stay ahead of the game.

With a population that has doubled in the past 10 years, DeSoto has some catching up to do. The first step in getting ahead is to not fall further behind.

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