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Marijuana taxes dominate April ballot in Mid-Missouri

FILE - Boone County voters cast ballots.
FILE - Boone County voters cast ballots.


Voters around Mid-Missouri have a lot of questions to decide on April 4.

Throughout the area, they’ll decide whether to tax marijuana buyers now that recreational pot is legal. They’ll also pick who will serve on their school boards at a time when education has taken the political spotlight in the culture war.

And many will vote on whether to allow their school districts, fire districts and other local political subdivisions to borrow the money they need for new buildings and equipment.

We’re hitting the highlights of the ballot in each county by alphabetical order.

LINK: Interactive map of Missouri school districts


Seven separate political jurisdictions in Audrain County will have votes on whether to enact a 3% sales tax on recreational marijuana. They are the county and the cities of Mexico, Laddonia, Vandalia, Martinsburg, Farber and Benton City.

The Community R-VI school district wants permission to borrow $1.1 million without increasing its tax levy. That money would pay for upgrades including roof replacements and security improvements.

Meanwhile, the ambulance district is asking for a tax increase and a road district wants to continue collecting taxes.

School board races in Audrain County are also busy: eight candidates are running for three seats on the Mexico Board of Education. Mexico also has five candidates competing for two city council seats.


Boone County also has its share of marijuana taxes on the ballot, with 3% sales taxes on the ballot countywide and in the cities of Columbia, Ashland, Centralia, Hallsville and Sturgeon. Most cities don’t provide an estimate for how much their taxes will generate in revenue.

But bond issues and sales taxes abound on ballots in Boone County.

The Boone County Fire Protection District wants to borrow $8 million in bonds to pay for a new fire station, new trucks and other equipment and personnel. The issue, if approved, would lead to no change in the district’s debt service taxes.

The Sturgeon School District wants to borrow $2 million to finish improvements to its elementary and middle schools., also without changing its debt service taxes.

In Ashland and Hallsville, the city governments are asking voters to cough up a bit more tax money to help fund public safety.

And school board races are busy throughout the county, led by the Columbia Board of Education race with seven candidates (one incumbent) running for three seats. Voters in the Southern Boone School District will also choose three board members from a field of seven.

In Columbia, voters will choose between Donald Waterman and Gregg Bush to represent the Fifth Ward. The ward covers much of the southern part of the city where more wealth is concentrated and tends to be more conservative than other wards.

Centralia voters will see a contested race for mayor on their ballots.


Callaway, like other counties, has its own 3% sales tax on recreational marijuana on the April ballot. The cities of Fulton, Holts Summit and Kingdom City are also asking voters to approve the tax.

A good chunk of the Jefferson City School District lies in Callaway County, and JC Schools is asking voters for a big bond issue this April. The district wants to borrow $85 million for projects including renovations to the Miller Performing Arts Center and two middle schools. The bond issue would keep the debt service levy the same.

School board races in Callaway County feature crowded fields. Five candidates each are running in Jefferson City, North Callaway, South Callaway and New Bloomfield. Three will win each election.

Fulton voters will choose a new mayor, with four candidates seeking the seat. That includes former police chief Steve Myers.


Ballots in Chariton County include plenty of tax issues but only one of them – in Glasgow – related to marijuana.

Instead, schools and other taxing districts are seeking bond issues or tax levy increases. Among them is the Brunswick School District, which is asking for $1.9 million for its agriculture shop and classroom. The district also has five candidates seeking three seats on the school board. The debt levy will remain unchanged.

Keytesville School District voters will be asked to OK a $2.65 million bond issue that will raise the debt tax levy from nothing to 50 cents per $100 of assessed value.

The Marceline School District, much of which is in Chariton County, is asking for a $3 million bond issue to improve school facilities without changing the debt service tax. And the Chariton County Public Water Supply District No. 2 is asking whether it should sell out to Missouri-American Water.

Several other cities and townships are also seeking tax increases or continuation for a variety of reasons, such as funding roads.


Only two marijuana taxes will appear on ballots in Cole County – a countywide tax and one for Jefferson City. Each is the 3% maximum allowed by law.

The big ballot item for many Cole Countians is the $85 million bond issue for the Jefferson City School District. The district has launched an informational campaign to tell voters about the improvements it has planned.

The Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce has given $15,000 to a committee formed to advocate for the bond issue, which would leave the district’s debt service unchanged.

JC Schools also has a crowded board race with five candidates running for three seats.

Jefferson City will also choose a new mayor at the end of Carrie Tergin’s tenure. But there’s only one filed candidate – current Fourth Ward Councilman Ron Fitzwater. Derrick Spicer is the only one seeking the Fourth Ward seat but elections are contested in the city’s other four wards.

The Village of Centertown is asking voters to approve a use tax to fund park improvements.


Things are a bit quieter on Cooper County’s ballots, with just one, countywide 3% pot sales tax appearing April 4.

But like in other area counties, school board races in Cooper County have drawn plenty of candidates. Voters in the Smithton, Pilot Grove, Boonville and Otterville districts all have contested races on the ballot.


Howard County is another where some voters will see multiple marijuana sales taxes on the ballot.

The county, Glasgow and Fayette have all placed the maximum 3% sales tax on recreational marijuana on the April 4 ballot.

Voters in the Fayette School District will be asked whether to approve a $3.4 million bond issue. The funding would pay for projects including new roofs for the high school and ag building and security improvements. The district’s debt service would remain unchanged if the levy is approved.

Public Water Supply District No. 2 also has a bond issue on the ballot -- $3 million to improve the water system.

New Franklin wants a use tax while Fayette is asking for a 1.5-cent sales tax to pay for public safety.


Maries County voters and those in Vienna will decide whether to impose the 3% sales tax on recreational marijuana sales.

Meanwhile, only one person registered for the two Vienna city government positions on the ballot.


Miller County and the City of Osage Beach are each asking voters to approve a 3% pot sales tax.

Races for the School of the Osage Board of Education and the Miller County Health Center Board of Trustees are crowded. Six candidates are seeking three seats in the school district and five are seeking three seats on the health board.

The most crowded race is in the Iberia School District, where seven candidates are seeking three school board seats.

In the Eldon School District, officials are asking voters to approve a $5 million bond issue to add elementary school classrooms. A yes vote would leave the debt tax rate where it is. The Brumley Fire Protection District wants to raise its tax levy to pay for its operations.

Osage Beach has several contested board of aldermen races while the City of Iberia is asking voters to approve a use tax.


Moniteau County and the city of California are both asking for the maximum 3% sales tax on recreational marijuana.

The Tipton School District is asking its residents for a $2.5 million bond issue that would improve the outdoor sports and activity complex, including new all-weather field turf.


Both Montgomery City and Montgomery County and New Florence are asking their voters to approve a 3% sales tax on recreational marijuana. In High Hill, voters will also choose whether to create a 4% gross receipts tax on the sale of manufactured or natural gas in the city.

The Wellsville-Middletown School District is asking for $1.9 million in a bond issue for district-wide improvements that include removing asbestos flooring from the high school. Approval would leave the district’s debt tax unchanged.

The Middletown Community Fire Protection District has a crowded race for its board of directors with six candidates going after just two seats. The Wellsville Fire Protection District features a race for two seats among four candidates.


The county and the cities of Sunrise Beach, Syracuse and Laurie are all seeking a 3% sales tax on recreational marijuana.

In the Morgan County R-II (Versailles) School District, a crowded field of seven candidates is seeking the three available seats on the board of education.

Versailles officials are asking voters to approve a use tax that would be used strictly for transportation. And Laurie is asking for $3 million in bonds for its sewer system that will be paid back through system revenue.


Osage County has some of the quieter ballots this April.

The county is asking for the maximum 3% sales tax on pot. And the Fatima School District is asking to raise its operating tax levy 65 cents per $100 of value to help pay for improvements to buildings and classrooms.


Voters county-wide will be asked whether to impose a 3% sales tax on recreational marijuana.

The Renick School District is asking voters to make permanent a tax levy that is currently set to expire in 2025. And in the Moberly School District, five candidates are running for the three available seats on the board of education.

Article Topic Follows: Your Voice Your Vote

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Matthew Sanders

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