Scott City rejects sales tax

Wednesday, August 7, 2002

SCOTT CITY, Mo. -- Scott City voters soundly defeated a quarter-cent sales tax meant to put an extra $70,000 in city coffers annually. The vote Tuesday was 229 for and 449 against the sales tax.

Officials had cited problems with the city pool's filtration system and flooding at City Hall as examples of the need for new revenue.

The city planned to install a $54,000 filtration system at the pool if the measure had been approved. City officials say the roof leaks in the building shared by City Hall and the police department. A ditch behind the building brings backwater through the back doors during heavy rains.

The sales tax rate in Scott City would have increased to 7 percent. Outside the City Hall polling place, some voters said they didn't think any tax increase was justified for any reason.

"I don't want any increase in tax," said Darlene Johnston, a 38-year-old day-care worker.

Barbara Rhymer, a 75-year-old retiree, said flatly, "I don't want any more taxes."

Others in the minority were more open to a new tax.

"We should support the things we have," said Carolyn Brown, a 53-year-old licensed practical nurse. "If we don't take care of them, I don't suppose anybody else will."

An employee of the Missouri Department of Transportation, Jim Menz voted for the sales tax. Scott City is in no worse shape than in past years, said Menz, a resident of Scott City for 40 years. "But it takes more money to keep going."

Earl Edmonds, a 42-year-old warehouseman, favored the tax, too.

"Look at the town," Edmonds said. "It needs money spent on it."

Mayor Tim Porch said the city will do the best it can with the resources it has.

"We'll patch and keep going on like we have until we get the reserves built up.

"Right now it's fix-it-as-it-breaks. We don't have the money to do anything else."

The city may try to put the tax back on the ballot in November, he said.

"We probably didn't promote it enough."

City Administrator Ron Eskew said the city has been operated year-by-year in the past but had hoped to put some money into its reserves. Now those reserves will be used to keep the city running, Eskew said.

"We just hope there are no great disasters."

sblackwell@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 182

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