Two churches in Mission have filed suit in Johnson County District Court in Olathe seeking to overturn Mission's new transportation utility fee.

The fee is expected to generate $1.2 million a year to help finance a proposed 10-year, $38 million street improvement program. It was approved by the City Council in August and went into effect in December.

The suit by the First Baptist Church of Mission and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas contends that the fee is actually a property tax as defined by state law.

The First Baptist Church received a bill for $971. The Catholic Church, which operates a parochial school in the city, said its liability is $1,615 a year.

The Kansas City suburb's driveway tax is based on the traffic on the municipal streets and roads from the property. It is the only such fee in the state, but in line with similar levies in Oregon, Texas, and Colorado.

The fees range from $72 a year on residences to $46,000 on the city's largest retailer.

The fee is levied on 5,650 properties in Mission, including tax-exempt churches, schools, and government buildings.

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