March 29, 2001

County Voters To Decide Fate Of ½ Cent Sales Tax

While the governor and the Missouri Department of Transportation are asking for additional funding for roads, Scotland County will be asking to keep the same revenue.

Voters in the April 3 election will determine whether or not to continue the ½ cent sales tax for capitol improvements for roads and bridges.

The tax has been in effect since January 1, 1986. By law, the tax must be placed on the ballot every four years for reaffirmation by a popular vote.

"Basically we use the revenue generated by this sales tax to update and maintain the quality equipment used by the county's road and bridge department," stated Presiding Commissioner Mike Stephenson.

"We have good equipment because of this tax," stated Commissioner Roger Riebel "Many of us can remember the day when we didn't have the kind of equipment necessary to maintain roads and remove snow so we have to be grateful for what we have now."

Last year the sales tax generated $160,700 of the $1,169,040 of the total budget for the road and bridge department. That represents 13.7 percent of the overall funding.

The funds were used to help build nine new bridges in the county in the year 2000 as well as to help purchase a new grader and back hoe.

A majority of the road and bridge revenue is generated by property tax. The county has a 31-cent per $100 assessed valuation tax for county roads and bridges. That figure could be as high as 35-cents but has remained below the cap because of steady funding.

Stephenson also noted that Scotland County is one of the few counties that doesn't transfer a three-percent administrative fee out of road and bridge funds into the general fund for the county. He stated that is a common practice allowable by law, but the commission feels the county's roads and bridges should receive 100% of the funds to insure the highest quality roads possible.

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