Mulvane residents unhappy with location of proposed new library

MULVANE, Kansas — The first of several local communities hoping to implement city sales taxes is in its final countdown to election day.

The proposition of a 1% sales tax in Mulvane would fund a new public library.

KSN went to Mulvane where residents are largely unopposed to the idea of a sales tax or a new library.

“We could really use a bigger, nicer library because we utilize it a lot,” said Theresa Papon, a Mulvane resident.

“I’m a big fan of this library. I can’t imagine not having one in town, but it would be nice to have a larger facility. I’m definitely for the new library,” Betty White told KSN.

The sales tax doesn’t bother White either.

“It has saved me thousands of dollars in not buying books. That penny doesn’t bother me at all. I’m all for it!” said White.

Some residents are, however, asking questions about how the city chose the location for the new library and why the public didn’t play a larger role in that decision.

“We’re not using our money downtown! The library has always been downtown,” said Mulvane resident, Mike Campbell.

Campbell supports a new public library, but believes it should be built on the vacant lot across the street from the current Mulvane Public Library so the facility can remain downtown.

“Our fading downtown can be turned around with a minimal investment, but {it has to happen} now!” argued Campbell.

We asked Mulvane City Council member, Joe Johnson, about the downtown location consideration.

“There were just a variety of things that were not good for downtown, not good for building downtown,” said Joe Johnson. Primarily including parking availability, flood plain concerns, and utility costs.

The location of the new public library, if passed by voters on Tuesday, would be only a few blocks away from the current site, but is located in a residential area.

The city owns an empty center lot, recently purchased the home on one side of that land, and is in the process of purchasing the home on its other side.

Again, residents like Campbell disapprove of this location.

“You’re letting the community vote on the sales tax, but you guys, selected the site. You few selected the site,” expressed Campbell.

Other people believe because the proposed new location is nearby the current library, it’s “downtown enough.”

We also wanted to know if the city considered utilizing the tax money Mulvane receives from the Kansas Star Casino to fund the library project.

KSN learned 60% of the cost of the new library would come from taxes acquired from the casino.

“We’re trying to use the money that we do get from the casino, which is 1% of gross, for continuing to provide city services that the citizens have come to expect,” said City Council Member and library committee member, Joe Johnson.

The remaining money raised from the casino tax is largely spoken for, Johnson said. Items include the effort to lower property taxes, lower utility rates, and efforts to maintain city services like the new water treatment facility which Mulvane is close to completing.

Mulvane residents can cast their ballots Tuesday, June 24 in the special election at First Baptist Church located at 1020 N. 2nd. Polls will be open between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.

The proposition will appear on the ballot as follows:

“Shall the following be adopted?

Shall a retailers’ sales tax in the amount of one percent (1.0%) be levied in the City of Mulvane, Kansas for the special purpose of paying the cost of financing, site preparation, acquisition, construction, improvement, installation, furnishing, and equipping a new public library within the City, said tax to take effect on the 1st day of October, 2014, and expire on the 30th day of September, 2024 or such earlier date as all obligations incurred for said purpose shall have been paid in full?”

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State tax cuts force local communities to consider sales tax hikes

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