By DOUG WILSON
Herald-Whig Senior Writer
PALMYRA, Mo. -- Northeast Missouri voters said yes to a hand full of tax issues on Tuesday including a property tax for the Palmyra Bicentennial Library.
Voters favored the 15-cent per $100 assessed valuation library tax by a 952-607 margin.
"We really appreciate all the support we've gotten and we will immediately add some new programs," said Marion County Library Board President Norman Hare.
Among those new features will be earlier opening hours to accommodate students taking GED and college credit classes.
A similar property tax issue was rejected last year when a 10-cent property tax was sought throughout the county. This time the 15-cent property tax was sought only in the Palmyra School District, where more of the voters were expected to be patrons of that library. The tax is expected to generate about $167,000, Hare said.
The library had been running a deficit of $2,000 to $3,000 per month and supporters said it could only remain in operation another 18 to 20 months with funds on hand.
Jerry Trower, president of the Palmyra Bicentennial Library Board, said children use the library a great deal and that may have helped bring support from voters. He added that the library brings people to downtown Palmyra, where businesses benefit from the traffic.
In Lewis County voters made a pair of three-eighths cent sales taxes permanent so they do not come up for renewal every few years.
Both taxes became effective in 1989. One generates money for bridges and other capital improvements and the other brings in money for general operations of the county. Each of the taxes brought in about $219,000 last year.
The road and bridge tax was made permanent by a 1,058-587 margin. The general operations tax won voter acceptance 955-678. The cost of elections was estimated at $4,000 and voters had repeatedly renewed the tax issues since they first passed.
Lewis County voters also rejected a change in the way fences are financed between farms to separate livestock and crops. Farmers with livestock will bear the entire cost of fences with neighboring landowners who have no livestock after the "local option" ballot provision was rejected 433-1,165.
In 2001 the General Assembly passed a law that put the cost of fence construction on farmers with livestock. That changed more than a century of law that called for a shared cost between neighboring landowners. Due to complaints from some segments of the farm community, there is now a "local option" that allows counties to opt back into the 50/50 fencing rules that were in place before 2001.
Scotland, Knox and Shelby counties are among those that have approved the local option, according to the Missouri Farm Bureau.
"In a drought year like this, grain farmers can't afford the added costs of these fences," said a Lewis County grain farmer who asked that his name not be used.
Knox County voters approved renewal of a half-cent sales tax for capital projects such as repair and maintenance on roads and bridges. Voters favored the issue 1,061-155.
Officials said the sales tax brought in more than $145,000 last year.
In Clark County a property tax of 35 cents per $100 assessed valuation won renewal for another four years by a margin of 714 to 296.