By JESSICA CRAWFORD
• Daily Leader
It will soon cost 2 percent more out of a passerby’s pocket to spend the night in one of Liberal’s hotels. At Tuesday evening’s city commission meeting, a final reading of an ordinance raising the transient tax was approved by commissioners following a discussion as to where the money would go.
“The new 2 percent tax will go solely to convention and tourism fund,” Finance Director Chris Ford explained. “That is mandated in the charter ordinance.”
Mayor Joe Denoyer further explained that the tax “goes into promoting the City of Liberal.”
According to City Clerk Debbie Giskie, the ordinance must be published for two consecutive weeks. On the 61st day of publication, the ordinance will go into effect, unless it is protested.
Giskie said this will be the first time in 15 years that the city has raised the transient tax. The tax has stood at 4 percent and will be raised to 6 percent.
One motel operator wasn’t happy with the move.
Kenny McElvain, owner and operator of the Liberal Inn on U.S.
Highway 83, does not expect the 2 percent increase in the transient tax to be a positive move for local logding facilities.
“It will be a negative impact on my business,” he said. “With business being down and the economy not being good, this is another time of raising taxes? Yes, I expect it to be a negative impact on business.”
Zoning Administrator Steve Guerrero proposed to have a portion of the third street right of way vacated.
“Staff recommends vacation of the described portion of Third Street right of way and asks commission to move ordinance No. 4369 to a second reading,” Guerrero said.
Guerrero stated the buildings to be vacated are between the Methodist Church on Third and Grant and Byron Bird and Associates.
“These are two small buildings built back in the ’50s,” Guerrero explained. “The owners want to vacate in order to get it ready for prospective buyers.”
Guerrero said if the buildings are vacated, there will be less legal restrictions when the owners decide to sell the property.
B&H Paving has once again provided the low crack seal bid for road repair throughout the city. Public Works Director Joe Sealey explained that the low bid was 85 cents per pound applied as opposed to the cost last year of 78.5 cents per pound.
“B&H Paving has been doing our crack seal and chip seal for the last
11 years,” Sealey said. “Maybe even before that.
Vice Mayor Doug LaFreniere inquired as to the time frame the city has to finish the annual crack and seal project. Sealey said it must be done during cold weather.
“You get the optimum performance when it is cold,” he said. “When it warms up, the cracks get smaller.”
Sealey explained the process of alerting citizens of repairs on their particular street.
“We will place flyers on doors one or two days before,” he said.
“Some people will leave cars parked. We will tow them but only to a street that has already been completed or around the corner. We don’t impound or charge anything.”
Originally, the public works department was asking for $150,000 to complete the project. However, commissioners approved $100,000, advising if he needed further funds, to bring his request before the commission, and it would most likely be approved.
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