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Topeka looks to hike fee to hit state, churches

Published on -7/31/2013, 7:09 AM

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Topeka appears ready to boost its utility franchise fee so that some new revenue to fund its budget comes from churches, schools and Kansas government agencies.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports (http://bit.ly/17g9rMn ) that most City Council members have endorsed raising the fee to 6 percent from 5 percent. Kansas Gas Service and electricity supplier Westar Energy pay the fee on their gross receipts and pass it along to customers.

The council believes the increase will raise nearly $1.2 million next year.

Council members backed the idea after a financial adviser told them it would be fairer than boosting property taxes to raise revenues. State agencies, schools, churches and other nonprofit groups don't pay property taxes.

The council and mayor plan to vote Aug. 20 on a 2014 budget.

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