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Fairgrounds, parks target of proposed county sales tax

Boone County commissioners unanimously passed a sales tax Tuesday morning onto the August ballot.

The one-eighth cent sales tax would go towards upgrading the Boone County Fairgrounds, as well as parks within the county. The tax would last until 2020.

The county commission has discussed ways to fund the fairgrounds and the Central Missouri Events Center. TAG Events currently manages the fairgrounds, but will give up that position at the end of June.

“TAG events has had great success in bringing that thing up, back up to life and really putting it in a position that this tax boost can really take it to the next level,” Boone County Commissioner Janet Thompson told ABC 17 News. “They increased the level of payments that the events had to make to be able to reserve that place, and now we’re really poised for the next step.”

Thompson said investing in the fairgrounds is a wise choice for the tourism dollars it draws. She said the fairgrounds have events nearly every weekend, and many people from out of town attend those shows.

“The vast majority of those people are coming in from out of town, out of Boone County,” Thompson said. “They’re using hotels, they’re using our restaurants, they’re shopping at our stores. They’re spending their tourism dollars right here in Boone County.”

Parks in the county would also receive some financial help. Cities in Boone County could apply for some of the money collected through the tax for parks projects.

A state sales tax will also be on the August ballot. That three-quarter cent sales tax is for transportation-related projects.

ABC 17 News looked at past Boone County sales tax increases. According to state Department of Revenue data, the 2014 flat Boone County tax rate was 5.975 percent.

That was up from a flat rate of 5.350 percent in 2003.

One Hallsville business told ABC 17 News the county’s incremental sales tax increases was starting to hurt business.

” It’s the easiest tax to pass, I think,” said Kay Berkley, co-owner of Sassafras Moon World Gifts. “They go, ‘Well it’s only one-eighth of a cent.’ But it adds up and adds up.”

Each municipality in the Boone County also had different sales tax levels.

Hallsville add one percent to the flat Boone County sales tax rate.

Within Columbia, several different areas had different tax levels because of taxing districts.

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