A look at June 2nd municipal elections

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Southwest Missouri – Local elections that were supposed to happen on April 7th were postponed until June 2nd due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When voters do cast their ballots, they will have quite a few things to consider. Here’s a breakdown of some of the major issues in the counties in our viewing area.

 

Jasper County

The Joplin School District is asking voters to approve a 25 million dollar no tax increase bond. The money would be used to combine Columbia Elementary and West Central Elementary into one new 67-thousand square-foot school on Dover Hill. It would also mean an 8325 square-foot addition at Kelsey Norman Elementary.

Rendering of the new elementary school on Dover hill

The bond would not increase taxes, but it would extend an existing bond that’s set to end in 2033 to 2040. Superintendent Melida Moss says there was a lot of interest in the proposal before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the postponement of elections, so she hopes that residents will find that enthusiasm again next week.

“The attention has turned to the issues that are so prevalent in media each day and concerns with COVID-19. But I think that the need has not changed, and even maybe the need is even more magnified now,” says Moss. “It’s important that all of our Joplin stakeholders have a voice in this decision. Because this really impacts the future for our kids and our community.”

If you want to learn more about the bond issue, check out this previous story from January of this year: https://www.koamnewsnow.com/joplin-schools-unveil-renderings-for-proposed-new-school-on-dover-hill/

The Carthage School District is also asking voters for a no tax increase bond. The 10 million dollar bond would be used to renovate and expand both of the Carthage Technical Centers in town. The district says the 40 thousand square-foot expansion would mean programs would be able to expand for both students and adults, and that instruction time would increase because it would eliminate drive time from shuttling students between the North Tech Center and the high school. If passed, it would not impact the current levy rate, but it would extend it for six years — until 2040.

Floor Plan for Carthage Tech Center proposal

You can find more information about the proposal on the Carthage School District website, here.

In Carl Junction, residents will consider a use tax for the third straight year. The use tax would apply the current local sales tax, currently 2.5 percent in CJ, to online says made inside the city.

The issue has gone before voters in 2018 and in 2019, but was voted down both times. In an interview in January, City Manager Steve Lawver said the EF3 tornado that hit the town in 2019 is a big reason why the city decided to put the issue before voters for a third time.

There is also a levy increase on the ballots in Carl Junction that would go to the Carl Junction Fire Protection District. If approved, it would increase the levy by 25 cents for every 100 dollars of property value.

The Avilla Fire Protection District is also asking voters for a levy increase of 30 cents for every 100 dollars of property value for the fire department.

And the City of Duquesne has put a 1/8th cent sales tax proposal on ballots, that would fund stormwater control and local parks.

 

Newton County. 

The Neosho School District is asking voters to approve a 22 million dollar bond issue for improvements in the district. If approved, it would pay for storm shelters to be added to Field Early Childhood, Central Elementary, Benton Elementary, and Neosho Middle School. It would also provide funds for the district to build a 1500 seat performing arts center, and an end zone facility. The bond would increase the levy by 39 cents for every 100 dollars of property value.

You can find more information on the proposal from the Neosho School District website here.

Also in Neosho, the city is requesting a half-cent sales tax to fund fire and police capital improvements and operations.

Newton County has put a half-cent public safety tax before voters to fund 911 and law enforcement.

The City of Stella is requesting a levy increase of 30 cents per 100 dollars of property value to fund the volunteer fire department.

 

McDonald County.

Southwest City has put a two million dollar bond issue before voters to improve the cities water and sewer systems.

 

Vernon County.

The city of Nevada has put a 15 million dollar bond issue before voters that would be used to renovate the city’s water and sewer system. The bond issue wouldn’t increase taxes, but instead would be funded through the city’s water rates. Those rates would increase by around 2 percent each year until the year 2043.

 

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