Council approves 4 voting measures | Local News
Questions were raised Monday night about several aspects of four tax proposals, but Joplin City Council moved forward to present them to voters.
A proposal to renew the city’s current one-quarter-cent sales tax to fund parks and stormwater projects has been approved.
Leslie Haase, the city’s finance director, said the proposal is expected to generate around $ 41 million over 10 years for park improvements and drainage projects to reduce flooding. A residents’ committee recommended dividing the money by 55% for parks and 45% for stormwater, as flood projects received larger shares in the last two 10-year cycles of the tax. .
The question will be placed on the Aug. 3 ballot and must be sent to the county clerk by May 25, Haase said. A motion to approve the ballot question was moved by council member Diane Reid Adams and seconded by Doug Lawson. The vote was 8-0 with board member Anthony Monteleone absent.
The council also approved a resolution supporting the adoption of action plans developed by city staff to meet the council’s six goals for community improvements in housing, neighborhoods, homelessness, public safety, economic opportunities and income.
Resident Arnold Nicholas asked why the city, in its action plan related to the replacement of deteriorated housing, would offer housing incentives of more than $ 150,000. He said rental prices have become high and has been told that about a third of the housing vouchers available to low-income residents are not being used because rentals in that price range are not being used. available.
He said the city should take the more expensive housing incentives and make them available to low-income residents and homeowners to repair their properties. He also recommended that the city lift a restriction that landlords could only get one building permit per year for work they were doing themselves and cede vacant city-owned land to builders for new homes.
Councilor Phil Stinnett requested the opportunity to have board discussions on the action plans as they progress so that board members can discuss ideas and suggestions about them, such as those advanced by Nicholas.
City manager Nick Edwards said most action plans would require a political decision as they prepare for action and council will have an opportunity to discuss them in the future. .
Councilor Gary Shaw moved a motion to approve the resolution, which was seconded by Councilor Chuck Copple and carried 8-0.
A usage tax, which is levied on purchases made on the Internet when local sales taxes cannot be assessed, is proposed to pay for municipal expenses that would be incurred in carrying out action plans.
Haase said the tax would cost 3 1/8 cents, the same amount as the city’s sales taxes.
“The sales tax collections have been eroded by online shopping because the city does not have a use tax,” Haase said. She estimated that the usage tax would bring in $ 3-4 million per year.
The measure will be written on the November 2 ballot.
Stinnett asked why the issue of user tax had been placed on the agenda so far before the election as an emergency order, meaning it would be approved immediately instead of being read for a final decision at a second meeting.
Haase said that by approving all tax issues at the same time, city staff and residents speaking to groups about the proposals could discuss all of the tax proposals at the same time. This is how “citizens have an overview of what we are working on”, she added.
Stinnett told Mayor Ryan Stanley he was concerned about making it an emergency ordinance based on comments from some residents.
The mayor said, “We have talked about this so much over the past two months; it was in the newspaper; we had a working session last week; it is not something new. I can understand the concern about the urgency and first and second readings if it was new, but we’ve been biting it for a few months. “
Copple asked if the reason given for the emergency order met the requirements of the city’s Charter.
City attorney Peter Edwards said tax matters were considered emergency orders, according to the charter.
Shaw brought forward a motion to approve the usage tax proposal. He was seconded by Councilor Keenan Cortez and approved 8-0.
A proposal to ask voters to approve a Memorial Hall renovation project for up to $ 30 million prompted a resident, Frank Thompson, to speak.
He added that this issue was also on the list of emergency orders even though it would not be addressed to voters until April 2022 and that he wanted to know why. He also asked why the city had given up parking at Memorial Hall and would then ask for more money from the proposed bond issue to provide parking in the hall.
Stinnett also questioned the use of the emergency ordinance on the proposal to issue general bond bonds to fund the proposed Memorial Hall project. It would be paid for over 20 years through the assessment of property taxes and personal property taxes.
Haase said city staff have been working on parking plans for the lobby and may need to do additional work on it when the renovation is complete.
Stinnett asked if taxes would be imposed on manufacturing equipment.
Haase said it would apply to commercial businesses for real estate, personal property and equipment, including vehicles. This also applies to agricultural properties, she said.
Reid Adams said some people wonder why the city isn’t demolishing Memorial Hall. She asked how much it would cost. Haase said it would be around $ 1 million.
Stinnett said he would not vote in favor of the proposal because of the emergency ordinance designation. He and Lawson voted against a motion made by Cortez and seconded by Copple to approve the voting measure. It was carried by a 6-2 vote.
The fourth tax proposal presented is another measure to vote for April 2022 to issue bonds of $ 10 million to finance the renovation of the old library building in the 300 block of Main Street for an education project and professional training course called Project Launchpad. It too would be paid with property taxes.
The launch pad would be developed by the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, Missouri Southern State University, Joplin School District and the city.
Resident Ryan Jackson said he attended a meeting last week about the proposal. If he thinks there are good concepts on offer, he thinks there are too many unanswered questions, including details of which entities would be in the lease.
“What will be the selection criteria for the tenants (of the building)? We don’t know, but we’ll be voting to put this on the ballot tonight,” Jackson said.
Thompson also spoke about the proposal, saying there are other buildings, such as the Training and Advanced Technology Center run by the Chamber and Crowder College which is not fully occupied, and the Innovation Center. Newman, which may soon be empty.
Stinnett said he heard the same comments and questions from other residents. Business owners have also told him that the launch pad will not train the kind of workers they need and need workers now.
He said he was in favor of passing the bill on to voters but was going to vote “no” again because he saw no reason for it to be an emergency ordinance.
Cortez brought forward a motion to approve the ballot measure, seconded by Copple, and it was passed 7-1 with Stinnett’s sole dissent.