Opinion Columns & Blogs

Could county live on non-Wichita dollars alone?

The Sedgwick County Commission is newly drawing bright lines between the county and city of Wichita, including by backing away from city-county funding partnerships on planning, economic development and alternative corrections. But could the county live on non-Wichita dollars alone? Wichitans represent 75 percent of Sedgwick County residents and pay about 75 percent of the property taxes that help fund the county’s budget. But that breakdown doesn’t hold true for the distribution of dollars from the 1 percent countywide sales tax, which has been in place since 1985 and pays for the Kellogg freeway and other road and bridge projects as well as property tax relief. Because of a complicated formula set out in state law, Wichita currently receives just 58.2 percent of the proceeds of the sales tax, while the county receives 28.6 percent and 13.2 percent goes to the 19 smaller cities. Last year the sales tax generated a total $86.6 million. – Rhonda Holman