Springfield's Level Property Tax has been renewed three times since it was first approved in 1995 and has property owners paying 27 cents per $100 assessed valuation.
It’s been used to fund major capital projects such as Fire Station #1 at Grand and Holland, the Police-Fire Training Center on W. Battlefield and the E-Plex and Grandstand at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds.
Springfield Mayor Ken McClure said renewal of the tax in the upcoming election would allow funding of some key public safety and economic development issues.
"Key among those would be two new fire stations on the west and northwest sides of Springfield, additional police cars--we do not have any money now for regular replacement of police vehicles--stormwater improvements, which are always very, very needed," McClure said.
Tax revenue would also pay to replace or upgrade two existing fire stations, renovations at Historic City Hall and to repair or upgrade the city’s storm siren infrastructure.
If the sales tax issue on the Greene County ballot passes, $2 million in revenue from the city’s Level Property Tax over 10 years would help fund an expansion of the Greene County Jail.
McClure said the need is significant for these projects.
"The city's operating budget is fairly strapped. We just don't have the ability to use the operating funds for those types of ongoing capital needs, so the needs are great," McClure said. "If you talk to the police chief and the fire chief they would both tell you they do not have enough--that even these funds will not be enough, but it's a very, very good start, where we want to begin."
In April, when Springfield City Council voted to place the Level Property Tax issue on the ballot, it passed three amendments. One includes a list of projects that would be funded by the tax, but the city would be able to use tax revenue for more than just those items. Another states that tax revenue for salaries is limited to law enforcement, fire department and public works personnel. And the other removed from the proposed ballot language Councilman Tom Prater believed was confusing to voters.
The Level Property Tax generates approximately $8.5 million per year, according to McClure.