Derby voters approve half-cent sales tax for parks project, more

Derby voters on Tuesday approved a 10-year, half-cent sales tax that will fund a parks project, pay maintenance and operating expenses of the Derby Public Library, and pay maintenance and operating costs of the Derby Fire and Rescue Department.

Sixty-seven percent of voters supported the measure, known as the Derby Difference Sales Tax, while 32 percent were against it, according to unofficial results posted online Tuesday by the Sedgwick County Election Office.

The tax will go into effect Jan. 1, 2015, and will replace an existing half-cent library tax that expires on Dec. 31, 2014, after five years. About half of the tax proceeds will fund a new central park, a tournament-quality baseball and softball complex, and a dog park. Thirty percent will go toward fire and rescue services. The remaining 20 percent will be used for library upkeep.

“I feel the citizens understand what we do with that money and rather than raise the mill levy to do these projects, it (the sales tax) works just fine,” Derby Mayor Dion Avello said, citing similar past sales taxes approved by Derby voters.

He added: “It’s just been a great benefit to the city of Derby because it raises about $2 million dollars a year and continues the growth of Derby.”

About 1,523 ballots were cast in the sales tax vote, according to the election office. The results will remain unofficial until canvassing takes place on Oct. 14, Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman said.

Also on Tuesday, Colwich voters defeated its bond question, 76 percent to 23 percent. The bond would have funded a $1.65 million municipal swimming pool complex, according to the city’s website.