Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sales Tax Vote - Deception #2

Deception #2 is the fun one.  This is the one regarding the cost of a spring mail ballot for the sales tax.  See, the item could go on the November general election ballot, at no charge to the City of Shawnee.  But, there are some individuals who feel that if that happens then the citizens of Shawnee will vote it down. So they are opting to spend money to make it a mail ballot election in an attempt to "stack the deck".

The council was told by the city manager that the cost of the mail ballot would be approximately $110K, and then that was changed to an estimate of $40K.  Well, it appears that both numbers are wrong.  The  figures were being based on  the November 2013 mail ballot election in Olathe.

So, what is a guy to do?  Easy, obtain copies of the appropriate documentation from the JoCo Election Office. Specifically, the amount Olathe was billed by the county.  Are ya ready?  Here goes.

Olathe voters:
       Registered voters (active and inactive)   77,662
       Voters receiving ballots (active)             72,369
       (Note:  active voters represent 93.18% of the registered voters)

Shawnee voters:
       Registered (as of last spring election)      41,043
       Potential to receive ballots                      38,244 (93.18% of the above)
       (Personally, I think we probably have a higher % of active voters, but we'll use the known % from Olathe)

Shawnee active vs Olathe active:
          That becomes 38,244/72,369  which means Shawnee has 52.85% of Olathe's voters

So, what do we do now?  We take the dollars billed to Olathe and to get a real close approximation for Shawnee, we multiply that figure by 0.5285.

The figures in the first column are what Olathe paid, the second column is the projected for Shawnee.

Special   Board                                $8,868.69                  $4,687.10
Printing                                           $24,379.40                $12,884.51
Stuffing and mail preparation           $26,118.00                $13,803.36
Postage                                          $39,216.14                $20,725.66
Envelopes                                      $20,520.00                $10,824.00
Publications                                   $     281.16                 $    281.16

Total                                            $119,383.39               $63,205.79

Fairway is going to have a mail ballot but their voter rolls are so small that the $$ involved will be negligible
Postage has increased.  Keep in mind postage is based not just on the ballots returned (probably less than 35% of those mailed) but also on the number mailed.  Also, there may be certain fees associated with permitted reply postage.  Printing could also be higher, per page, because of a reduced quantity.

Now, there will be certain individuals who will try to discredit my calculations.  They will attempt to use all kinds of smoke and mirrors to bring the estimate down.  Please, don't be fooled.

So, there is the 3d choice the council has to make on Feb 10, 2014.  Set the vote for the November general election for no charge or pay approximately $63K to attempt to "stack the deck".

The other two choices are keeping the pipes and parks separate on the ballot from the pavement question or combining the two taxes into one question (another deck stacking move).  The other is whether the pavement tax should be 1/8% (0.125) or 2/8% (0.250)

I feel the Feb 10, 2014 council meeting is important that all who can need to attend.  It's your tax dollars.

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