Archive for Thursday, December 27, 2007

Tax credit bill tops city’s 2008 resolution list

December 27, 2007

With the new year less than a week away, it's time for The De Soto Explorer's annual resolution list. Our annual resolution lists aren't about self-improvement but finding solutions to community issues.

Topping our resolution list this year is legislative action that would make the state's tax credit incentive program a realistic economic development tool. That change is said to be central to any decision of Huhtamaki Americas officials to expand the De Soto plant. That expansion should be welcome to all residents who buy water or have sewer service from the city because it would take much of the pressure of paying for the city's water and sewer improvements from De Soto residential users while allowing the city to consider extending service to create a healthier tax base.

When the issue was publicized in October following testimony at an interim legislative committee in Topeka, state lawmakers seemed positive about changing the incentive so that companies awarded tax credits could actually qualify to use them. Sen. Julia Lynn, who represents De Soto in Topeka, has promised to make action on the revision her top priority for the 2008 legislative session.

Last year, a solution to De Soto USD 232's growth demands topped our resolution list. That hasn't changed with a resounding defeat of a bond issue voters apparently thought went beyond the "current needs" it was billed as addressing. What is different now is a consensus among USD 232 board members that the next bond issue won't try to graft a growth plan on a largely abandoned strategic plan but attempt to find a new direction. An important step in that effort is the coming survey of district residents. It is to be hoped the survey identifies a direction that will enjoy wide and unifying support in the district.

It appears 2008 will be the year an agreement will be reached to end the division of fire service in De Soto. Promising talks to merge the De Soto Fire Department and Johnson County Rural Fire District No. 3 under one locally named board continue. The hope here is they continue without late glitches and earn Johnson County Commission's approval and that 2009 will start with more responsive and efficient single fire department serving the city and surrounding community.

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