Special sales tax question on ballot for Phillips County voters

Published: Dec. 12, 2022 at 8:12 PM CST
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PHILLIPSBURG, Kan. (KWCH) - Although election season ended last month, in Phillips County, early voting for a Jan. 4 special election begins Thursday, Dec. 15. Timing for the vote isn’t the only thing different. Only one polling place will be open for the entire county. The special election concerns a half-cent sales tax that’s been in place for nearly two decades.

For the past 17 years, a special sales tax has been in place for the Phillips County Economic Development Center to help grow new businesses. It will be up to voters if the half-cent tax continues.

It’s a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question, Phillips County Clerk Teena Dierking tells 12 News. A ‘yes’ is to get rid of the half-percent sales tax. And a ‘no’ is to keep the tax that funds Phillips County Economic Development.

Phillips County residents originally voted to implement the sales tax but some want it gone, approaching two decades with it in place.

“It was voted on in 2005 without a sunset,” Dierking said. “And so, there was a petition circulated to get it on the general ballot, but (we) couldn’t get on the general ballot because of timing issues. So, that’s why we’re holding a special election.”

Following early voting Thursday, voters on Jan. 4 will come to the Huck Boyd Community Center, the lone polling site for the special election. Among those eager to cast their vote is Phillipsburg business owner Brenda Chanley. Chanley, who owns, “Blossoms and Butterflies, discussed how she benefited though the Economic Development Center.

“I started my business 10 years ago. I got a grant, and then I also got a low-interest loan, and I probably wouldn’t have been able to start my business without those two things,” she said.