Support High Plains Retirement Village: Vote YES on the 1% sales tax at the Primary Election on Aug. 6

The Kearny County Commissioners unanimously voted to add a question to the primary election ballot asking voters to consider levying a 1% sales tax supporting High Plains Retirement Village, and to minimize the need for property tax increases to take effect January 1, 2025.

Join CEO Marley Koons at one of the following town halls:
Tuesday, July 23 at 12 p.m. at KJK
Friday, August 2 at 10:30 a.m. at Cottonwood Coffeehouse

As a community, we are all impacted by this vote, so we want you to have the information you need to make an informed decision. We strongly encourage you to vote in favor of the 1% sales tax – to learn why, see the questions and answers below.

Kearny County Hospital is the county’s largest employer and an economic pillar in our community. However, we struggle with millions of dollars in losses from High Plains Retirement Village due to the high cost and low reimbursement of assisted living and long-term care. Those losses have become unsustainable, so a new funding stream is needed to support High Plains Retirement Village.

The 1% sales tax will add just one penny to every dollar spent on retail and vehicle purchases, restaurants, hotels, and utilities. It will not apply to gasoline, vehicle registration, or general agricultural purchases, and it will replace the soon-to-expire 2% state tax on food. Unlike property tax, sales tax is considerably more equitable – we all share the cost, even people coming to our community from outside the county.

The 65+ age group is the fastest growing in Kearny County, so the care available at High Plains will always be in high demand for many years to come. Today, one in five Kearny County residents is age 65+. This tax is necessary to allow Kearny County Hospital to continue providing quality, compassionate care to seniors without the need to eliminate long-term care services.

When essential services like long-term care and assisted living are closed, rural communities experience a ripple effect. It’s harder to keep and attract families and businesses to the area, so economic development slows significantly. In addition to caring for up to 75 residents at a time, High Plains Retirement Village employs approximately 50 people. When that many jobs are removed from a small community like ours, we not only lose great people, we also lose tax dollars for other important aspects of quality of life, such as schools.

Furthermore, High Plains Retirement Village is the only specialized facility of its kind for approximately 250 miles. Distances like that make it difficult for families to keep their aging loved ones close to home. We owe it to each other to approve the sales tax to support High Plains Retirement Village.

At 6.5%, Kearny County has one of the lowest tax rates in our region. In some areas of Garden City in Finney County, for example, sales tax is as high as 10.95%. Most other nearby counties fall in the range of 7.5-8.5%. *Does not include city sales tax.*

While 1% will not feel like much for individuals, it will generate an estimated $500,000 per year in funds for High Plains Retirement Village. If approved, the sales tax will take effect on Jan. 1, 2025.

Kearny County Hospital funds High Plains Retirement Village, and we are happy to do so because providing care for the aging is critical. However, we are reimbursed well below retirement village costs, which required our hospital to absorb substantial operating losses year after year for High Plains. Since 2021, we have reduced those annual losses by more than $1M, but the deficit remains too significant – and we cannot increase rates with inflation like other businesses.

Check your voter registration status, polling location, ID requirements and more at . Important dates to remember:

  • July 16: Deadline to register or update your registration.
  • July 17: In-person advance voting begins.
  • July 30: Last day to apply for advance voting mail ballot.
  • August 5: In-person advance voting ends at noon.
  • August 6: Primary Election Day for in-person voting 7am-7pm.

Yes, the State of Kansas allows advance voting in person from July 17 to August 5 at the County Clerk’s Office (304 N. Main, Lakin, open Mon-Fri 8am-5pm). You can also request a mail-in ballot; you must submit your application to vote by mail by July 30, and your completed mail-in ballot must be postmarked by Aug. 6 to be counted.

If you have questions about voting, you can call the Kearny County Clerk (County Election Officer) at 620-355-6422 or the Kansas Secretary of State Elections Division at 800-262-VOTE.

Yes, voting requires a photo ID – a driver’s license, military ID, Kansas College ID or other qualifying ID Card. If you don’t have a qualifying photo ID, make sure that you take the steps to obtain one in time for the early or in-person voting deadlines above. For a list of accepted IDs, go to or call 800-262-VOTE.

Vote YES to Support High Plains Retirement Village

If you live in Kearny County and are eligible to vote, you have the power to support the survival of High Plains Retirement Village. Please vote in favor of a small sales tax increase to make a big difference. Thank you for supporting a healthier community!

“High Plains Retirement Village provides a safe, caring community where our residents can access quality healthcare covering a range of specialties all under one roof, helping them live their best lives throughout their senior years.”

“Assisted living and long-term care are very important to me as a physician in this community because I love taking care of patients across the spectrum of generations. The support of the community through the sales tax increase is important for us to continue providing this care to our community.”

“High Plains Retirement Village supports us all by providing a level of care that eases stress on families, allowing younger generations to focus on their own goals and making contributions to society while also caring for their elders.”

“I love the family atmosphere and the amazing, compassionate staff – they make this a place I really want to be. They do a great job, and I love being somewhere safe and specialized while also staying close to my own family.”

“If High Plains isn’t here, where will our loved ones go? It’s a blessing to have such trusted staff for the assisted living and long-term care needs of our families, friends and neighbors here across Kearny County.”

“We do not take care of residents, but rather, our family members. More importantly, we are keeping actual families close together, which is proven to more fully meet the psychosocial needs of those we serve, decreasing aging-related depression and helping them enjoy life as they age.”