Saturday, March 19, 2011

Proposition A - 1/2 Cent Park Sales Tax on Rolla General Municipal Election Ballot April 5

   The City of Rolla’s 2011 General Municipal Election will be held on Tuesday, April 5, 2011. Polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.
   The positions open for election this year include: one Council Representative for all six wards (two-year term) and Municipal Judge (to fulfill a one-year unexpired term).  
   Also appearing on the April 5 ballot is Proposition A – the proposed ½ Cent Park Sales Tax. The ballot language on Proposition reads as follows: “Shall the municipality of Rolla, Missouri impose a sales tax of one-half (1/2) of one percent for 10 years beginning Oct. 1, 2011, reduced to three-eights (3/8) of one percent beginning October 1, 2021, for the purpose of funding local parks for the municipality, including construction, operation and maintenance of a new community and senior services center?”
   The primary purpose of the park sales tax is to fund the operations of the parks and recreation Department and to construct and operate a senior center. A small portion of the funds will be utilized to ensure the sustainability of The Centre. The park sales tax will free dollars to be spent on municipal services such as public safety (police & fire) and on economic development. For more information regarding the details of Proposition A, please visit http://www.rollacity.org/Forms/fact%20sheet_Layout%201.pdf or call the City’s Parks and Recreation Department at 341-2386
   For more information regarding polling places, please http://www.rollacity.org/wards/voter.shtml or contact Carol Daniels in the City Clerk’s Office at (573) 426-6942 or at cdaniels@rollacity.org.

8 comments:

Ray Schweikhatdt said...

The city has had 10 years to make the Centre self sufficient as was promised before the original tax issue. If it cannot be made so, close it or sell it. There is something wrong when a poublic entity cannot profitably operate when there are private enterprises doing so and paying taxes on all their income and those taxes being used to subsidise their competition.
RE senior center. It seems we have had a 'pig in the poke' pressed on us. Show me the need and where the operating income will be generated. Far too many questions.
Perhaps we are parkland poor. Stop taking useless parcels and demand cash from developers. How many little bits of land that cannot be developed does the city currently own?
If more police must be funded put that on a ballot. Do not try to to force a frill tax on us to "free" up money to use.
It just seems to me that there are too many vague promises and needs that have been floated on this entire process.

green said...

The Centre will receive only a small portion of the Park Sales Tax. There is an ongoing campaign by the Vessel family to stop Prop A because of the competition the Centre provides to Vessel fitness.
What it boils down to is that if you want nice parks, a large workout center with basketball and volleyball courts as well as indoor and outdoor pools and a nice community center then you have to pay for it. The idea that all taxes are bad is the reason that we can't have nice stuff. Vote yes on Proposition A.

green said...

The Centre will receive only a small portion of the Park Sales Tax. There is an ongoing campaign by the Vessel family to stop Prop A because of the competition the Centre provides to Vessel fitness.

What it boils down to is that if you want nice parks, a large workout center with basketball and volleyball courts as well as indoor and outdoor pools and a nice community center then you have to pay for it. The idea that all taxes are bad is the reason that we can't have nice stuff. Vote yes on Proposition A.

Ray Schweikhardt. said...

I am a part of that opposition and I have no financial interest other than the taxes I pay and the tax legacy that will be left to our children. Many people who think that this tax issue is just bad, lazy government are also involved. This group of individuals are just about as diverse as this community as a whole. I think that it is fundamentally wrong if even any small part of that money is used by the city to subsidize their exercise equipment that competes with any tax paying business. One of the original promises that was made by the proponents of the Centre was "we will not compete." Another was that "It will be a break even venture." I personally heard those words from the Mayors mouth. I am even more fundamentally against the 'senior center' We have absolutely no idea of what it will be and if it will need an operating subsidy forever just as the Centre does. Let the Centre sink or swim on its own merits with its members paying for their own enjoyment. If more parks money is needed run that tax issue on its own merits. This bundling together of many different issues just to try to recruit a large special interest vote is wrong.

Ray Schweikhardt said...

Green, it is now the light of day and I would like to expand. Even if this opposition was from Vessels exclusively who can blame them if they wish to try to protect their livelyhood? They paid for their business, they pay taxes on their business. The Centre was paid for by taxpayers and it pays no taxes, yet it still cannot break even. The city went to court to protect their business of scrap paper collection from a competitor and to keep it a monopoly and forced another taxpaying business out of the city limits. In the wishlist of the Centre is a desire to double their workout space and thus provide even more competition, with the public footing the bill. The terms "small' 'large' and 'nice stuff' are all vague terms and are a very easy thing to defend when you do not have to define them.

Givemeliberty said...

No one has said "all taxes are bad."

Prop. A opponents want taxes to fund core functions of government: law enforcement, public safety, and infrastructure such as streets. Perhaps there is such as thing as "more government than you can afford." Maybe that's were we are now. This is only the beginning of a debate over what the role of government should be.

Missouri's cities and counties are embroiled in great discord over these tax-related issues. The city of Lebanon, for example: mayor's blog said $800,000 subsidy from their general fund for the Cowan Civic Center!; city administrator quit; recall petition for mayor underway. There's trouble in Clinton and DeKalb counties: a suit was filed against the organization pushing for a rec center, just within the last week.

It has been said that most of this sales tax (67%, roughly) will be paid by city non-residents. What kind of thinking produces the desire to have someone else pay for your exercise equipment? My mother would have a two word response to this: "For shame." To make matters worse, there is simply no guarantee of any "nice stuff" in the ballot language.

Who is speaking up for the young families who are struggling to make ends meet? Aren't they entitled to a voice, just as much as senior citizens?

Have we arrived at the point that all private business must be crushed by taxpayer-funded business? If you are in any sort of private business, would YOU want to compete with government and its ability to tax for a subsidy? This is really a watershed moment. I would urge a "no" vote on Proposition A.

green said...

From the actual proposition: The primary purpose of the park sales tax is to fund the operations of the parks and recreation Department and to construct and operate a senior center. A small portion of the funds will be utilized to ensure the sustainability of The Centre.

Again, only a small portion will go toward the Centre.

As to whether someone from outside of Rolla should pay sales tax inside the Rolla city limits, of course they should and do. Paying the city sales tax comes with using city infrastructure. Everything from city roads to city parks and Rolla city police and fire departments are paid for through city taxes. Using the same argument you could say that someone from Salem who buys a computer here in Rolla shouldn't have sales tax go toward our police department because they get no benefit from that tax money. Fortunately that is not how it works though. If you buy something from a Rolla business then you will pay sales tax which will go toward making Rolla a better place to live whether you come from Salem or Timbuktu.

Go out on a sunny day, like yesterday, and watch all the people using the Acorn Trail and all the kids using the basketball hoops and playground equipment in the Rolla city parks. That is what the sales tax will be used for, the city of Rolla and the people of Rolla are better off because of it.

Givemeliberty said...

Why not explicitly state in the ballot language where the money will go? Who ultimately decides on the apportionment of this flexible money? Would it be someone who is unelected, perhaps?

"Making Rolla a better place to live" is a very broad target. Who decides where the resources will go? If the ballot language is too vague, not even a "yes" voter can really be sure. From the actual ballot language: "Shall the municipality of Rolla, Missouri, impose a sales tax of one-half (1/2) of one percent for ten years beginning October 1, 2011, reduced to three-eighths (3/8) of one percent beginning October 1, 2021, for the purpose of funding local parks for the municipality, including construction, operation, and maintenance of a new community and senior services center?"

Once the taxes are felt to be too high, people vote with their feet and their wallets, and go elsewhere.

Where does tax revenue come from? From government? No, it comes from individuals with the money to purchase goods and services, own land, and operate businesses. As the rate of taxation increases, initially the revenues increase, but then after reaching a maximum, the revenues begin to decrease. Only the federal government can create money out of thin air to fund its projects.