What areas of Lawrence are being allowed to charge a special sales tax, and can you explain how that works?
Megan Gilliland, the city’s communications director offered this response: The 8.85 percent sales tax rate in Lawrence (as of July 1, 2010) is based on: 6.3 percent paid to the state, 1 percent paid to Douglas County and 1.55 percent paid to the city. Currently, only two locations in Lawrence charge additional sales tax: The Oread hotel, 12th Street and Oread Avenue, and the Bauer Farm development at Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive. Both of these locations were approved as Transportation Development Districts in 2008. The additional 1 percent sales tax applied to purchases at these locations is used to fund public infrastructure projects funded by the developer, not the city. At The Oread, the public improvements included street enhancements, pedestrian walkways, an underground parking garage, street lights, and sewer, water and natural gas line improvements. At the Bauer Farm development, public improvements included sidewalks, streets, sewer and water infrastructure, and lighting. There are no other areas in Lawrence approved to charge more than 8.85 percent sales tax. Recently, there has been discussion about the use of Community Improvement Districts, which would allow private developers to charge an additional sales tax that would fund improvements that are not considered public improvements. However, no such districts have been approved. Visit www.lawrenceks.org/ sales_tax for more information. A GIS map of special tax districts is available on this web page.