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Author: Don Obrien

🎥 ‘Very nice increase’ in local sales tax collections, says Hays Finance Director


(Photo by Pixabay)
(Photo by Pixabay)

By BECKY KISER
Hays Post

Local sales tax receipts, which make up the biggest portion of the city of Hays’ general fund, continue to see growth in 2021 as compared to the major slowdown last year due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

General fund sales tax collections in September were at $796,459, a “very nice 23 percent increase, as compared to last year,” Kim Rupp, finance director, reported to city commissioners Thursday night.  

“[Overall] revenues in September totaled $3.5 million, an increase of $514,630 compared to the same period as last year.” 

The local alcoholic liquor tax is rebounding and up $69,000 year-to-date from this time last year.

People are returning to now-open bars and restaurants and purchasing alcoholic drinks. A portion of that local alcoholic sales tax, along with the liquor and beer purchased at grocery stores and liquor stores, helps fund local non-profit groups appealing for funding from the Hays CARE Council.

Another indicator of returning normalcy is a marked increase in water consumption by local businesses, up 18 percent month-to-date as more employees go back to their workplaces in person.

Perhaps most indicative of a return to business as usual in Hays is the 96 percent increase in accommodations the past quarter.

Food services were also up 33 percent while electronic shopping (with local taxes for online purchases) was up 31 percent this quarter. 

In other business, commissioners:

* Approved the 2022 health insurance plan for city employees as recommended by Erin Giebler, human resources manager. The city will return from a self-funded policy to a less expensive fully-insured policy from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas. “[Employees] won’t notice any difference” in their coverage or costs, according to Giebler.

The new water line is represented by the blue line along 230th Ave. The existing TRWD #2 line is represented by the yellow line east of 230th Ave. (Courtesy city of Hays) 
The new water line is represented by the blue line along 230th Ave. The existing TRWD #2 line is represented by the yellow line east of 230th Ave. (Courtesy city of Hays) 

* Adopted a resolution approving agreements between the city and Trego County Rural Water District #2 (RWD #2) to acquire four existing RWD #2 customers (Doonan Peterbilt, Randy L. Davis and Mary E. Davis private residence, Celebration Community Church, and Hays City Sportsman Club), along with some infrastructure as part of the improvements to 230th Avenue north of Interstate 70 Exit 157.

The proposed RHID boundaries for the former St. Joseph Catholic School in Hays. (Courtesy city of Hays)
The proposed RHID boundaries for the former St. Joseph Catholic School in Hays. (Courtesy city of Hays)

* Adopted a resolution for a Dec. 9 public hearing on the establishment of an RHID (Rural Housing Improvement District) for redevelopment of the historic St. Joseph’s School, 210 W. 13th, into a multifamily residential complex targeting moderate income tenants.

* Approved the low bid of $34,100 from Paul Wertenberger Construction, Hays to build a new reuse pump house structure over the west basin at the Water Reclamation and Reuse Facility, 

* Heard a progress report of activities and projects by various city departments from Collin Bielser, asst. city manager.

* Heard highlights of upcoming holiday events in Hays from Melissa Dixon, Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director.

Mayor Sandy Jacobs was absent from Thursday’s meeting which was conducted by Mason Ruder, vice mayor. 



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