Missouri News

Shelbina voters being asked Tuesday to OK half-cent sales tax increase

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Nov. 4, 2017 5:20 pm

SHELBINA, Mo. -- The only ballot issue to be decided in Northeast Missouri in Tuesday's special elections involves a tax issue in Shelbina.

Shelbina voters will be asked if they want to impose a half-cent sales tax to create, maintain or repair streets, sidewalks, curbs and gutters within city limits.

A simple majority is needed for the issue to pass.

The only polling place will be the American Legion on East Maple Avenue. Voting will run from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

City Clerk Tim Lacy said the half-cent sales tax, if approved, would generate about $100,000 a year in revenue. The money would go into a restricted fund that could be used only for streets, sidewalks, curbs and gutters.

Lacy said the city's current budget for streets and sidewalks is about $55,000.

Most of that money is used for street maintenance primarily through a chip and seal program, and city officials would like to do more to keep streets and sidewalks in good condition and carry out replacements where needed.

City officials also in the future would like to pave some gravel streets on the outskirts of the city.

"Our current approach really isn't keeping up, so that's one reason we're asking the citizens to pass this tax," Lacy said.

If the issue is approved, the new sales tax would go into effect in early January with no expiration date.

Lacy said Shelbina officials believe the timing is good for a ballot issue of this nature, because a regional half-cent sales tax for a transportation development district -- used to expand U.S. 36 to a four-lane road through four counties -- came off the tax rolls in August, three years ahead of schedule.

If Shelbina were to impose its own half-cent sales tax increase, then the city's rate would simply go back to where it was before the rate dropped in August.

"That's kind of why we've got it on the ballot now," Lacy said. "The people are used to paying the tax rate, so we thought this would be a good time for us to use those funds in the city instead of on the highway."

As part of the state's procedures for having the tax issue placed on the ballot, the Shelbina Board of Aldermen had to pass an ordinance in September endorsing the proposed tax increase. The passage of this ordinance is cited in the ballot language voters will see on Tuesday.

"If the vote does not pass, the ordinance will be rescinded," Lacy said.

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