A Briefing on Tuesday’s Ballot Items Before Heading to the Polls

Nov 6, 2017

Greene County and the cities of Springfield and Battlefield are seeking approval of proposals that would either add or continue tax revenue for various projects. Polls are open Tuesday from 6 am to 7 pm. You can view a sample ballot for Greene County here.

Nov. 7 Sample Ballot for Greene County
Credit Scott Harvey / KSMU

Improvements Sought for Public Safety

Greene County officials would dedicate a majority of dollars towards the criminal justice system if voters approve a ½-cent sales tax proposal. Most notably, the extra revenue would help expand the current jail, as well as enable courts renovation, add more evidence storage space, and pay for personnel and utilities. Approval of the tax would increase the county’s sales tax from 1.25 to 1.75 percent.

The full ballot language for the Greene County ballot item:

Shall the County of Greene impose a county-wide sales tax of one-half (1/2) of one (1%) percent for the purpose of general revenue?

City Asking for Tax Renewal

Part of the jail expansion funding would also come from Springfield’s Level Property Tax, which residents within the city limits will decide Tuesday. Voters have renewed the tax three times since it was first approved in 1995. It has property owners paying 27 cents per $100 assessed valuation. If they approve to continue the tax Tuesday, the city says it plans to construct two new fire stations on Springfield’s west side. It would also fund other public safety measures and make stormwater infrastructure improvements. Additionally, if the Greene County sales tax issue passes, $2 million in revenue from the city’s Level Property Tax over 10 years would help fund the jail expansion.

The full ballot language for the Springfield ballot item:

Shall the City of Springfield, Missouri, continue the current level of property tax, which is twenty-seven cents per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation, excluding the special levy for parks, public health, and the Art Museum, and be authorized to use the funds from such continued tax for municipal purposes, except that funds from this level of property tax utilized for wage and benefit expenses shall only be authorized for Police Department, Fire Department, and Public Works Department employees?

(Note: There will be no increase in the current property tax level if the twenty-seven cent property tax is approved.)

Other Greene County Items

Aside from the countywide sales tax and Springfield Level Property Tax, voters in Battlefield will decide if the city can impose a local use tax at the same rate of as the local sales tax rate.

The full ballot language for the Battlefield ballot item:

Shall the City of Battlefield impose a local use tax at the same rate as the total local sales tax rate, currently 2.25%, provided that if the local sales tax rate is reduced or raised by voter approval, the local use tax rate shall also be reduced or raised by the same action? A use tax return shall not be required to be filed by persons whose purchases from out-of-state vendors do not in total exceed two thousand dollars in any calendar year. 

Voter ID Requirements

Tuesday’s elections could mark the first time voters will cast a ballot under Missouri’s new photo voter ID law, which went into effect June 1.

According to the Missouri Secretary of State’s office, a state driver’s license and nondriver license are both accepted forms of photo ID for voting. Election judges will also take U.S. Passports or military IDs. Voters have the additional option of providing a secondary form of identification, such as a paycheck or bank statement. With this method, you’ll be asked to sign a statement confirming your identity. The third option allows registered voters without any form of identification to cast a provisional ballot.

The Secretary of State’s website breaks down what other options are available to voters.

Other regional ballot items:

Many local counties in the region are not holding elections on Tuesday.

In Branson, voters are being asked to impose a one-half of one percent citywide sales tax. The ballot language says the goal is to improve public safety. The tax will last for a period of 25 years.

Fordland residents will choose whether to increase the city’s sales tax from the current rate of one percent to two percent. According to the ballot language, this will be imposed on receipts from the sale at retail of all tangible personal property or taxable services at retail, and residential utilities subject to the sales tax imposed by the state of Missouri.

The city of Lebanon is seeking a continuation of its one-half of one percent sales tax for transportation purposes. The sales tax was passed in August. Passage of the item on Tuesday would continue Lebanon’s current sales tax for 10, beginning in 2019.

Follow Scott Harvey on Twitter: @scottksmu