Carl Junction residents to vote on use tax for third time in April

Question was rejected in 2018 and 2019
Outside of the Carl Junction, Missouri Community Center

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. – In the Briarbook subdivision in Carl Junction, you can still see scars from an EF3 tornado that struck the neighborhood in May 2019.

“We had some sewer line damage and we had, of course, the debris we had to haul off, that type of thing. And it was really quite expensive to do,” says City Administrator Steve Lawver.

Lawver says the city had to expend upwards of 200-thousand dollars from reserves on recovery efforts.

Officials are getting paperwork sent to FEMA for disaster recovery assistance, but Lawver says it could take years for them to get any aid.

“There’s no guarantee that we’ll ever get any reimbursement out of it. And that’s what we have to go with. We have to be able to take care of what we have here, thinking that we may, but in reality it’s you might not,” says Lawver.

He says that’s a big reason why the city council has decided to put a use tax question before voters again in April.

“So that we can put stuff back in reserves again, cause you never know when something’s gonna happen,” says Lawver.

The tax would make it so that anyone in Carl Junction that shops online would have to pay a two-point-five percent sales tax, which is the same rate as the city sales tax.

The question was first put before voters in 2018, and then again in 2019, but was rejected by voters both years.

Residents we spoke with about the use tax have differing opinions.

“It’s fine with me,” says resident Betty Baker. “If I have to pay it in the stores I might as well pay it over the internet.”

“I think we pay enough taxes on other things. And I do use the internet a lot and as you get older you depend on that. So, I’m against it,” explains resident Gretchen Bogani.

Lawver explains it costs the city around four-thousand dollars to hold an election.

Officials hope the tax will generate between 300 and 400-thousand dollars a year.

The question will go before voters on April 7th, 2020.

Residents in several southwest Missouri towns will vote on new taxes in April.

In Newton County, commissioners are filing for a half-cent sales tax to help fund public safety services. They hope the tax will generate around three-point-six-million dollars, with a majority going to 9-1-1 services and dispatch centers across the county.

And the rural fire department in Stella, Missouri is proposing a property tax. If approved, it would add a 30 cent tax per one-hundred dollars of assessed property value. The money would go to the volunteer fire department for equipment upgrades and other costs.