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Columbia residents approve 10-year extension to renewable park sales tax

Columbia residents approve 10-year extension to renewable park sales tax
Voting begins for Columbia's renewable park sales tax extension
Columbia's renewable park sales tax up for 10-year extension

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

The unofficial results for Columbia's renewable park sales tax show 7,202 yes votes and 1,760 no votes out of 34 of 34 precincts reporting with 8,962 votes cast. Columbia's renewable park sales tax will remain for the next 10 years.

The second unofficial results for Columbia's renewable park sales tax show 4,570 yes votes and 1,059 no votes out of 21 of 34 precincts reporting with 5,629 votes cast.

The first unofficial results for Columbia's renewable park sales tax show 2,207 yes votes and 493 no votes out of 11 of 34 precincts reporting with 2,700 votes cast.

The Boone County Clerk said voter turnout was around 11% or registered Columbia voters.

Columbia residents voted Tuesday to renew part of the city's park sales tax.

The city has a permanent eighth-cent park sales tax but voters in 2000 decided there should be an option for an additional, renewable eighth-cent tax on top of that.

Every five years since 2000, Columbia residents have renewed the additional eighth-cent, making the tax a quarter-cent total. That renewal is up again on Tuesday's ballot, this time for 10 years.

The tax revenue is “solely for local parks for the City, in order to purchase, improve and manage parks, trails and natural lands for water quality, wildlife, tree preservation, and recreation purposes,” according to the city's website.

Both eighth of a cent sales taxes together equal a quarter of a cent park sales tax and which generates about $6 million annually for the city.

The permanent eighth-cent portion goes toward the Parks and Recreation Department's annual operations budget. The renewable portion goes toward the Parks and Recreation Department's capital improvement projects, such as maintenance, renovation, development and acquisitions that cost $5,000 or more. It's also used to match federal and state grant funds toward those capital improvement projects.

Without voter approval, the renewable part of the tax will expire on March 31.

A 2021 survey of 549 households showed city residents prioritized the following uses for the tax:

  • Fixing up/repairing park facilities, shelters, playgrounds and restrooms.
  • Acquiring land for preservation and developing walking and biking trails.
  • Acquiring land to preserve open space and protect the environment.
  • Developing new walking and biking trails that connect neighborhoods to destination (major) trails.

City officials have identified several projects for the renewable tax. The biggest is $1.5 million to pay for the second phase of the Columbia Sports Fieldhouse at Perry Philips Park. The tax would also pay for $675,000 worth of work at Stephens Lake Park.

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Zach Boetto

Zach Boetto anchors the weekend morning and weekday 9 a.m. & noon newscasts for ABC 17. You can find up-to-the-minute information on Zach’s social media, @ABC17Zach on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Comments

2 Comments

  1. Or, instead of voting to take your neighbors money at gunpoint, you could pony up the funds for the projects you want. I have no objection to park projects. I do have objection to stealing your neighbors money to fund them.

  2. This is precisely why such are put on the ballot in off year elections. 11% turn out. Leaving those who vote for it in the driver’s seat, as most won’t go vote against it as a single issue. Also commonly used for property tax increases.

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