For the second year in a row Taney County residents will once again be voting on an increase to the law enforcement sales tax during the April election. 

At their meeting on Jan. 27, the Taney County Commission approved a ballot question that once again asks county voters for approval to raise the law enforcement sales tax amount from one-eighth of one percent to three-eighths of one percent. Unlike last year’s ballot question, the commission has included a sunset on this sales tax increase of 15 years.

The ballot question will read: “Shall Taney County impose a county-wide sales tax of three-eighths of one percent for a period of 15 years for the purpose of providing law enforcement services for the county, including providing funding to support capital improvements, equipment and operations of the sheriff’s department and jail, prosecuting attorney’s office and juvenile office and repeal the existing county wide sales tax previously authorized for law enforcement services of one-eighths of one percent.”

In November 2005, the voters of Taney County originally approved the law enforcement sales tax of one-eighth of one percent, which is set to sunset on Dec. 31, 2022. In the April 2019 election, a total of 4,509 county residents cast their vote on the sales tax question, which received 2,374 “No” votes and 2,135 “Yes” votes. 

The current law enforcement sales tax was created to support current and future capital improvements, equipment and operations of the sheriff’s department and jail. If this sales tax increase is approved, funds will continue to go to the sheriff’s department and jail, but those funds will also be used by the prosecuting attorney and juvenile offices.

Eastern Taney County Commissioner Sheila Wyatt explained that under the current one-eighth of one percent sales tax, the county projects that it will receive $2,250,000 in 2020. Wyatt also shared what the county receiving projections would be if voters approve the increase to three-eighths of one percent and what the projections would have looked like if they had only gone for an increase of a quarter of one percent.

“If we did a quarter percent, and the eighth of a percent is done away, it would be bringing in, by the projection, $4,500,000. If we did three-eighths of a percent it would be bringing in $6,750,000. If you took all of the budget for the sheriff, jail, prosecutor and juvenile office … I added those up and projected around $5,272,462, and those are being paid out of GCR (General County Revenue) right now.”

For the last few years, the county has had to go into the reserve funds to meet the needs of the county. 

Wyatt said if they continue with this trend, the reserve fund could be depleted within the next five years.

“We went out of reserve in 2018, $676,000. In 2019 we went out of reserve $1,044,644. In 2014 we went out $1 million. My projection is simply if we continue the pattern, … and the eighth of a percent runs out and nothing is passed by the end of 2024, you’re broke. When I say ‘you’re broke’ you have no more reserves. You’ve got to live on what revenues are brought in. So I think there’s no doubt something has to be passed.”

Reading off a chart that was provided to the commission, Western Taney County Commissioner Brandon Williams said that if the increase was passed, an individual who spends $10,000 in taxable goods a year in Taney County, would go from paying $12.50 to $37.50 into the law enforcement sales tax.

“I don’t know this, but $10,000 for an individual or family to spend on taxable consumer goods in Taney County is probably quite a bit, because that’s not your rent, that not your house payment, not your gas. That’s just you going and buying something at Walmart or Country Mart.”

Discussions to reintroduce the law enforcement sales tax increase to the April 2020 ballot took place at a Taney County Commission roundtable meeting on Jan. 14 and again at the Taney County Commission meeting on Jan. 21, before it was discussed further and officially voted on at the Jan. 27 meeting.  

Residents will have the opportunity to cast their vote on this ballot question during the General Municipal Election on Tuesday, April 7.

(3) comments

Bobgreene

So if I am to understand this correctly, you asked for more taxes in 2005 by enticing us to vote for this under the pretense that it could go away in 2022. Here it is 2020 and you are again trying to entice us to vote not only to keep the amount from before, but proposing an increase of an additional 200% by saying that it "sunsets" in 15 years. Are you kidding me??? Where does it end? Certainly not in 15 years. You'll just be asking for more again in 10 years once this becomes "normal". No thanks, I'll not vote for this slow march to 100%

IL to AR

Wow! Aren't there federal and/or state grant's to support law enforcement? And Taney County being the tourist county it is, they should be bringing in quite a bit during tourist season. But it is never enough & goes to more than just law enforcement. Ever consider reassessing expenditures? I don't live in Taney County or Missouri, but some times shop there. They need to keep in mind, if this passes it could also hurt them more than help. Tourist & locals will find out & realize Taney County has high sales tax. And it won't help businesses either.

trooper2

I am all for supporting law enforcement. However like stated in a previous comment our taxes here are on the high side already. The demographics of this area is not flush with high paying jobs. Families struggle just to meet their living expenses. When things get tough families have to look at their own expenses to verify they are spending what they are limited to, in order to make it through the month or through the year. Look at your receipt when you spend $100 in Walmart or Country Mart. Yes, that number might surprise you. I know the county budget really well. Every single line item across the departments. I know there is room to tighten the belt in several GCR areas. When the new jail facility was built I asked the commission at the time to look at all areas of efficiency that they could in this building. They told me it was none of my business. Yet once the building was operational and the bills started coming in they were not happy. Just several years after the building jail facility opened they instituted an energy consumption improvement plan and the spent thousands of dollars to retrofit things that could have been built into the design and build of the building before ground was ever broken. Energy consumption of that building was running 18K-25K per mo. Drive by at night and look at how many lights are on. Look at operational efficiencies in the Road Department. There is money to be saved there. I identified several areas where blatant misuse of tax funds were happening. The commission at the time did not want to hear a word of it. I was terminated for still unknown reasons to me. I guess the truth and the good ole boy network were on two opposite ends of the spectrum. One can not take away 3 million in operational expenses and then commit to keeping the same workforce without materials and supplies to do the work required in maintaining the network of roads. When was the last time an accountability study was done on all departments within the GCR? When budgets are created one should have to justify each and every line item every year. Not just use the previous number as a starting point and then ask for more from there. What is the county's 5 year or 10 year or 20 year Masterplan? When I asked to review such a document it did not exist. Does one exist today? When the going gets tough in our lives we have to tighten the belts each and every way we can. Has the County done very much to create an environment to entice new companies to come to the area and provide new jobs? I am aware there are efforts to do this but after several years of funding these efforts what has been the end result? What is the ROI on all that? This area is prime country for eco-tourism. Mountain biking and hiking along with other outside activities come to mind. There should be lots of cars with bike racks running around our area. People need to get involved and go to the County Commission meetings. It is appalling that there are typically just a handful of people in attendance. Like I said, I support Law Enforcement. However, I also support effective and responsible spending or our tax dollars. Listen to Sheila Wyatt. She is one of the most responsible and intelligent ladies I ever had the pleasure of working with in 35 years in public works. However during my tenure with the County, the Commission and several department heads did everything they could to make her life hard. When in reality all she was doing, was doing her job with a realistic approach to the challenges that she was faced with. I will fully support a tax increase when I am confident that every effort has been made County wide in all their operations and expenditures. You have time to help people understand the need for this. The justification needs to be a bit more impressive than a newspaper article telling us that a new tax is needed. How much have you heard in the news in recent years about what is going on in the County operations or issues they are faced with? Very little! If we knew what you were doing and had a better understanding and some confidence that you have made efforts to tighten your belts just as we do, then the request to fund a new tax might just be an easy sale.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.