Haven City Sales Tax Information for New EMS Building
Citizen Vote --April 7, 2015 Prepared by: City of Haven
1. Why do we need a new building?
The City commissioned a preliminary needs study in August, 2013 which cited the following: The two vehicle bays are inadequate in size to accommodate ambulances and personnel at the same time; the office/day room is inadequate in size for staff to conduct routine business, training, and not private enough for an office; storage areas are virtually non-existent. Upgrades would be difficult due to the size of the location, and adjacent property is not available. To maintain emergency services in town at a quality necessary for its survival and growth, the Haven City Council, along with Haven, Yoder, and Sumner Townships, have determined a new EMS building is important to the city and surrounding area.
2. How will it look and where will it be?
Five years ago the city purchased a vacant lot at 120 N. Kansas. This lot provides adequate space for a new facility to meet the recommended needs. Preliminary architectural plans have been developed and are available at the city office.
3. Why not co-locate with the Fire District in that building?
The city and townships attempted to co-locate with Rural Fire District when its new facility was built. At that time Reno County would not agree to co-location.
4. How much will it cost?
An estimated cost from the preliminary study in 2013 was $375,000-$500,000, with a more specific estimate at $450,000. The City of Haven will provide 50% of the funds; Haven Township will provide 25%; Yoder and Sumner Townships will each provide 12.5%. Preliminary agreements have been signed with the Townships to participate in the cost.
The city has been setting aside capital improvement funds in recent years, and that total is now $63,000. Additionally, a building donation fund currently has approximately $11,000. The bulk of the expense will need to be funded via a revenue bond and repaid using the city sales tax, if approved.
5. What will the ½ cent sales tax mean? Why a sales tax instead of a mill levy increase?
The sales tax would be placed on retail purchases within the city and used exclusively for funding the EMS Building. Through a sales tax, the cost is shared by all who make purchases in Haven. For example, a $10.00 purchase in Haven would include $.62 State tax; $.15 Reno County tax; and $.05 Haven city tax for a total of $10.82. A sales tax can only be approved through citizen vote, scheduled for April 7.
A mill levy is a tax approved by the City Council and assessed on property owners based on the value of their property. It is the primary source of overall city operational funding. Using a mill levy increase would only directly affect property owners.
6. Why not apply for grant funding?
The city attempted to apply for grant funding as a first option. An eligibility survey was conducted in 2013. In order to be eligible for a Community Development Bock Grant, Haven and the surrounding area needed to have 51% of the residents within a low to moderate income level. The results of the survey indicated our area did not fall within those income parameters. Other grants generally use similar guidelines.
7. When will the sales tax begin?
If the sales tax is approved, the implementation date will be October 1, 2015.
8. How long will it be in effect?
An estimated time frame is 10 years, depending on the final cost of the structure, amount of funds necessary to borrow, and city sales revenue. This is based on a projected loan of $387,000, at a term of 10 years with 4% interest. The sales tax would be responsible for one half of that cost.
9. What happens if the sales tax is defeated?
The city and townships would need to revisit the plan. It is unknown whether a defeat of the sales tax means the community does not want a new EMS building, or a different source of funding, or a less costly option, or status quo with no improvements.
Ultimately, if a quality EMS service cannot be maintained in Haven, we would be dependent on the Reno County service.
10. When is the vote, and who can vote?
The sales tax question will be on the ballot Tuesday, April 7, 2015. All registered voters who live within the city limits are eligible to vote.
11. How do I get more information about the building or have other questions?
The preliminary architectural plans are available at the city building and can be viewed during regular business hours. If you have other questions please stop by or call the city office at 620-465-3618.