Salina Voters Okay Tax Hike

Salina residents used a mail-in ballot to okay a sales tax increase.

Unofficial results released Tuesday afternoon by the Saline County Clerks Office show the proposed sales tax passed with 6,216 yes votes to 5,350 opposing it.

Or 53.74-percent voted for the measure while 46.26-percent of ballots cast opposed the hike. The vote means a 35-cent increase for every $100 spent in Salina.

City leaders are hoping to use a portion of the newly passed sales tax for economic development in Salina.

“We’re not the community that’s going to write you a big check and especially if you’re from out of town and hope that it stays here,” said City Manager Jason Gage.

“Then the money leaves town and the business and the jobs leave town – we’re not really into that.”

Gage joined in on the KSAL Morning News with a break down of how the $9.35 million raised annually from the new tax rate would be used to improve neighborhood streets, fund capital projects and boost economic development.

“What we’ve said is that there are things that are important like land, buildings, training, utilities, roads, drainage. Things that stay in our town, those are assets. That’s what what we plan to focus on in the future.”

The plan also allocates $1.35 million for renewal projects on the Smoky Hill River and $600,000 for Salina Park facilities.

According to Saline County Clerk, Don Merriman, voter turnout was 40.39 percent in 35 precincts.

The new sales tax will be in effect for twenty years, from October of 2016 through September of 2036.