Marble Hill to try again at redirecting tax

Thursday, June 14, 2012

MARBLE HILL, Mo. -- It's too late for Marble Hill to put redirecting a half-cent sales tax on the August ballot, but the city will try again, possibly in November.

Mayor Michael Sowers said next time the city will do a better job of explaining what the vote is about.

A recent measure failed by five votes. Aldermen Monday night said their constituents told them they thought the vote was either to abolish the sales tax altogether or to add another increase.

"People made the decision not knowing what it was," Sowers said. "Even Channel 12 was telling everyone it was a tax proposal."

City attorney Alan Beussink admitted that he could have been more clear when he wrote the ballot language and said he would be clearer on the next ballot. Some voters were confused by the way it was written.

The intent of the vote was to change where the half-cent sales tax would go within the city budget. Currently it goes into capital improvements. When the city abolished property taxes as a concession to pass the sales tax, it did not replace the lost revenue from the property taxes, but it cannot transfer money from capital improvement into general revenue, which is where they now want the sales tax to go. The city can transfer money from general revenue to capital improvement.

Sowers said he was even more concerned now because if the city had failed to make it clear why it needed to redirect the sales tax, then it may fail in convincing the voters to vote for the $1.7 million bond issue.

"We need to go to the people who voted us in and educate them, especially concerning the bond issue," he said. "I believe if people understand and are educated, we can get the right information out."

In a future meeting, the board will discuss ways of reaching more city residents to answer any questions they may have and encourage them to learn more about what they will be voting for.

Map of pertinent addresses

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