On the April 1st ballot will be the 1/2 cent sales tax RENEWAL for the Economic Development and Capital Improvements and I encourage all of you to vote yes for it! Here are some facts about the 1/2 cent sales tax:
The half – cent sales tax is NOT a levied tax and is not associated with property tax. It is a tax applied at the point of sale or purchase of products within Russell County. Sales tax is considered the “fairest tax” program since it is applied equally to everyone. Each incorporated city within Russell County receives a portion of the half – cent sales tax, depending on the amount of sales tax collected in the city for that year. Each city can utilize the money for local economic development programs or capital improvements. The sales tax has been in place for 10 years and has to renew every 5 years, so this will be the 3rd renewal process.
Keeping Russell County Strong and Moving Forward: – the 1/2 cent sales tax assists in opening new businesses in Russell County, helps to retain existing businesses and a strong workforce within the county.
- Russell County Eco Devo Micro-Loan Program has provided over $339,000.00 to Russell County businesses for start – up, expansion, or retention. A minimum of a 100 jobs have been created or retained due to this loan fund
- Currently 20 Rural Opportunity Zone participants funded through the 1/2 Cent Eco Devo Sales Tax ($60,000 investment by the county to recruit young families and professionals to Russell County)
- The median wage in Russell County has increased from $11.45 to $12.45 an hour (Kansas Commerce Data 2009-2013) ***Indicator that economic development strategies are strong
The return on investment has been significant since the sales tax was originally started over 10 years ago. Return on investment data includes:
- Tourism in Russell County has increased 9.5% since 2010 (Kansas Tourism Data 2013)
- Russell was named 18th out of 35 best hunting/fishing towns in the U.S. in 2012 (Outdoor Life Magazine)
- Wilson Lake was ranked 86th out of the 100 best lakes in the U.S. in 2013 (Bass Masters Magazine)
- Switchgrass Trail at Wilson Lake is rated as the most “epic” trails in the Midwest
- Bass Tournament Recruitment: In 2010 Russell County Eco Devo recruited and hosted a national bass tournament at Wilson lake that included 100 participants and tournament officials. Since then Russell County Eco Devo has hosted a minimum of 4 state, national, or regional bass tournaments at Wilson lake. While here, participants stay in local hotels, eat and shop locally.
- In 2012, Russell County successfully recruited the Outdoor Writer’s Association Conference to Russell County. This gained Russell County fishing and hunting exposure in major outdoor publications, radio, and TV media.
This tax not only assists the growth and sustainment of businesses and tourism in Russell County, it also provides funding for needed capital improvements in Russell County. Some examples of the capital improvements include the purchase of the EMS and Economic Development and CVB buildings, land near the 4-H building, windows and computer upgrades at the Russell County Courthouse and the project courthouse addition. These purchases were not paid for by property taxes, rather sales tax that is pad for by anyone purchasing product within the county. This sales tax also provides funds for each city in Russell County to be able to do many of the things already listed. For more information, contact the Russell County Economic Development and Tourism Office at 785-483-4000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org