Sikeston residents vote in favor of half-cent sales tax

Sikeston proposes half cent sales tax for voters

SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) - Sikeston residents voted in favor of the half-cent sales tax increase.

With all precincts reporting, 1,303 voted "yes" and 530 voted "no."

The tax increase will allow the city to make public safety officer salaries competitive with other nearby communities, as well as to make additional investments in parks and streets.

It is expected to generate about $1.4 million per year and have a 10-year sunset provision.

Not everyone is in favor of the proposed increase, however.

"If they wanted money for the police force, they should have a little extra already to give the police force a raise," Dru Booth of Sikeston said. "If they do use it for drains that would be great."

Sikeston Mayor Steven Burch said the sales tax revenue has been flat for the most part over the last 10 years. He said with costs continuing to climb, it needs to be more competitive.

"It's put us in a position in the Public Safety Department with the current state of public safety and police departments in general," Burch said. "We're not quite as competitive as we need to be with payroll. We want to attract better officers and well-trained officers and retain them."

Funds will be used to improve public safety by purchasing items like fire hoses, camera and video equipment, emergency siren batteries, weapons replacements and other equipment. Funds will also be used to help with park maintenance as well as with other repairs.

"The park system is really about addressing the quality of life," Burch said.

Burch said the park system and recreation complex is 40 years old. He said by upgrading the park people will want to reinvest in the community more.

He also said the cost of street repairs continues to go up and he believes the city is already falling short in that area.

City leaders chose a sales tax for voter approval over other sources of revenue because sales taxes are paid by residents and visitors in the city.

The current tax rate for Sikeston in Scott County is at 7.725 percent. For Sikeston in New Madrid County it is at 8.225 percent. If approved, both figures will increase by .5. For comparison, Cape Girardeau sits at 8.975 percent and Poplar Bluff at 8.725 percent.

"The city only collects about 2.5 percent of that tax," Burch said. "The rest goes to county, state and others so we're trying to go from our 2.5 percent to 3 percent."

Download the KFVS News app: iPhone Android

Copyright 2015 KFVS. All rights reserved.