Meetings have been taking place between City of Liberal Commissioners and USD No. 480 Board members to discuss the possibility of funding school improvements with the help of a sales tax.
Tuesday, the Liberal City Commission agreed to allow a public vote for a half-cent sales tax to be used for school improvements.
That, along with a 51 percent match from the State of Kansas, will greatly reduce the burden on property owners.
This may be a new concept in Kansas, but if it is supported by the people, it could pave the way for other communities to consider similar funding options.
Trying something new is never easy, and there is no guarantee that it will pass, but the Liberal City Commission has taken a large step that should change the perception about local government.
One accomplishment of this 5-0 commission vote is breaking down the barriers of turf warfare. Too often there has been lines drawn between different entities. Whether it has been as simple as sharing equipment or working on common streets, each unit of government has tended to look out for its own interests.
But the Liberal City Commission was willing to see a bigger picture and how education facilities benefit us all.
The Liberal City Commission has a limited amount of taxing authority, and to share a portion of that with another taxing entity is a sign of working together in a way that could change how Liberal does business.
There is still much work to be done.
USD No. 480 has to create a plan that is supported by the voters. It must be realistic and address the needs while preparing the community as best as possible for not only where education is today, but where it will be 10 years from now.
That is a monumental task.
When voters go to the polls to cast their ballots some time next spring, they will know that the entire region will be able to contribute to the cause due to the availability of the half-cent sales tax.
While this is a big step forward, the responsibility now falls back on USD No. 480 to create a successful proposal.
Whether it passes or fails cannot detract from the willingness of the city to support another entity, and they deserve credit for allowing a sales tax vote to move forward.
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