The effort by the Kansas City suburb of Mission to tax residents for roadwork is illegal and cannot be collected, Attorney General Derek Schmidt said last week in a non-binding opinion.

Schmidt said the fee was an illegal excise tax and the city was “specifically, clearly and uniformly” forbidden to collect it.

Mission instituted the driveway tax in December 2010 in an effort to shift the cost of street projects from homes to commercial properties that generate large volumes of traffic. The annual fee ranged from $72 per year on residences to $46,000 for the city’s largest retailer.

The fee was expected to generate $830,000 a year to help finance a proposed 10-year, $38 million street improvement program approved by the City Council in August 2010.

The city agreed recently to exempt churches and other nonprofit groups from the fee.

Sandy Jacquot, general counsel for the League of Kansas Municipalities, said the association would seek a clarification of Schmidt’s opinion.

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