For more than 20 years Scotland County residents have been paying a half cent sales tax to help fund the road and bridge department’s capital projects, such as building new bridges and purchasing equipment.
On April 4th, voters will be asked once again to renew the tax, which was first implemented in 1985. Since 1997, the tax has been renewed every four years by voters. In 2013 the issue was approved by 682 yes votes to 123 against.
The ballot issue reads as follows: ” Shall the County of Scotland continue to impose a county wide sales tax at the rate of one-half (1/2) of one percent (1%) for a period of four years from the date on which such tax is first imposed to be used solely for the purpose of capital improvements of County roads and bridges?
This is not a new tax.”
In 2016, the sales tax generated more than $260,000 for the road and bridge department.
More than $460,000 was expended from the fund, with roughly $350,000 spent on three new bridges. More than $30,000 was spent on road tubes with another $44,0000 expended on equipment.
“The sales tax is a restrictive revenue,” said County Clerk Batina Dodge. “It can only be used for capital improvements, such as the purchase of equipment and bridge construction.”
Overall, the sales tax represents approximately 15% of the county’s road and bridge department’s $2.1 million budget.
“It is important for voters to understand that this is not a new tax nor is it a tax increase,” said Presiding Commissioner Duane Ebeling.
The 35-cent road and bridge levy and the 31-cent special levy for roads and bridges generate roughly 40% of the budget. Missouri state fuel taxes (CART funds) and motor vehicle sales tax revenues generate an equivalent revenue stream.
The county currently levies a 1/2 cent sales tax for the general revenue fund and a 1/4 cent sales tax for law enforcement in addition to the 1/2 cent road and bridge tax. Combined they generated approximately $650,000 in tax revenue in 2016.
With a combined 1.25 cent county sales tax, Scotland County ranks as the lowest among its neighbors and in the state. Adair County has a sales tax of 1.375 cents while Putnam County and Schuyler County both are at 2 cents. Clark and Knox counties both have sales tax rates of 2.5 cents with Lewis County charging 3.125 cents. Those rates are paid in addition to the statewide 4.225 Missouri sales tax.