Council votes to end extra sales tax early for NE Wichita development

The sales tax in one area of northeast Wichita sits at 8.5 percent, but that extra 1% could soon drop.
Published: Jun. 10, 2022 at 6:21 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Update Tuesday, June 14, 2022: The Wichita City Council voted to end an extra one-cent sales tax that helped fund a development in northeast Wichita. The community improvement district (CID) near K-96 and Greenwich includes the Wichita Sport Forum and several restaurants and retail stores. The sales tax was originally slated to come off the books in 2036, but strong retail sales growth in the area will allow the city ot pay off the bonds on the public improvement, ending the sales tax at the end of this September.

The sales tax in one area of northeast Wichita sits at 8.5 percent, an additional percentage for a community improvement district (CID) near K-96 and Greenwich. But that soon could end.

Business owners like Crystal Wiley are hopeful for continued growth in the area and looking forward to the day when the sales tax at her business will decrease from 8.5% to 7.5%. Wiley is the franchise owner for a fitness studio called HOTWORX Wichita.

“That one percent, while it doesn’t seem like much to the average person, as a business owner, that adds up to thousands upon thousands of dollars. And that’s just more money that I can put back into my business, incentivize my staff, and basically just make everything function more fluidly,” Wiley said.

She opened HOTWORX, the first 24-hour infrared sauna fitness studio in Wichita in 2019. She said HOTWORX was there before the changes to the K-96 and Greenwich interchange.

“With the new exchange, it has made traffic go a lot smoother,” Wiley said, pointing out less congestion while getting a lot of traffic.

HOTWORX is within a specific CID that charges an additional 1% sales tax to pay for some of the interchange improvements.

That 1% was to be added between 2015 and 2036, but it could end by this fall. City of Wichita staff said strong retail sales growth in that district has generated enough revenue to fully reimburse the special assessment bonds.

“Everything’s gone so well that we’re able to say, ‘council, this tax is only needed for seven years. We can literally lower the sales tax in this particular part of town 15 years before it was planned to be lowered,” said Interim Wichita Assistant City Manager Kathy Sexton.

The Wichita City Council will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 14, to discuss termination of the community improvement district for the area south of the Top Golf location. If approved, the additional 1% sales tax would end on Sept. 30.

To view the agenda for next Tuesday, click here.

This week, poles also went up at the new location for Top Golf, just north of K-96 and Greenwich. While that entertainment business remains under construction, the proposal to end the additional 1% sales tax is for a specific area, south of Top Golf.

Previous stories:

Topgolf facility coming to northeast Wichita, city explains funding source (May 2021)

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