PERRY COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - A sales tax in Perry County, Missouri passed on Tuesday night, April 5.
Seventy-eight percent, or 1,666 voted "yes" for the sales tax; and the remaining 469 voted "no."
Would you like to see a dog park in Perry County, Missouri? How about improved security at the Perry County Courthouse?
Extending the 3/8 cent local park sales tax could bring projects like a dog park and improved security at the Perry County Courthouse.
In 1996, voters in the county approved the 3/8 cent local park sales tax for 20 years. That ended in March of 2017.
Community leaders proposed to extend that tax for another 20 years.
"Moving forward, continue to improve mainly for children and our grandchildren and the citizens for Perryville and Perry County," Perryville Mayor Ken Baer said. "This park tax is very very important because we do have a wonderful park system. We want to continue that same tradition and we want to continue to make it better. And that's what this is all about."
The revenue of the 3/8 cent local park sales tax will provide funding for improving, equipping, constructing, operating and maintaining many buildings and park facilities in Perry County.
"The total sales tax here is 7.825 percent," Baer said. "That would not change. It stays exactly the same (if approved). This is simply a renewal, continuation of what we are doing, what we're collecting now. So you won't see a change at all in your tax bill."
This park tax includes the Perry County Courthouse, county administration building, the Perry Park Center, as well as other parks in the county.
Mayor Baer and Perry County Presiding Commissioner Carl Leuckel said they are working together to offer these projects for the entire county.
"We think we are unique," Baer said. "The City of Perryville, we are part of the county. We're all one. We are elected separately but we are one and our goals and our mission and our effort to make things better for all county residents."
One of the bigger projects is maintenance on the Perry County Courthouse.
Built in 1904, the courthouse is more than 100 years. At the time it opened, the building cost was $31,819. In 2015, that cost had increased to $846,514.
The courthouse is in need of numerous structural and cosmetic repairs and updates, which include courtroom security improvements, replacing windows, roof replacement, HVAC upgrades and more.
"Our courthouse, it has major issue with it," Leuckel said. "We had a firm come down from St. Louis and give us an overall estimate of maintenance on it. The roof, the AC, the heating and cooling and everything, just to give it a face lift was going to cost is between 1.2 million and 1.5 million dollars."
If the sales tax is approved, residents in the county and the city will not see an increase in taxes since they have already been paying this amount.
If it's not approved, the tax will lower, but upgrades and improvements to various buildings will be maintained as needed with the minimal funds.
"In the event it does not, we'll continue to maintain the facilities we have and we'll do the best we can with the resources we have," Baer said. "But we just won't be able to make the improvements we'd like to as we move forward."
The list of priority projects if voters approve the sales tax are:
- Exterior and Interior refurbishing of the Perry County Courthouse, to include improved security and a new HVAC system
- Perry Park Center pool boiler and dehumidification unit replacement
- Redevelopment of Chamber of Commerce (Feltz Street) Park
- Maintenance needs of the Perry County Administration building
- Lighting for soccer and baseball fields
- Redevelopment of Northdale and French Lane Parks
- Rehabilitation of baseball fields including infield surfaces, fences and backstops
- Viola Blechle walking trail loop development
- Dog park
- Development of a baseball/softball quadplex
- Replacing the Perry Park Center HVAC system and flooring
Kirsten Looney is a resident of Perry County and said extending the tax is a great idea.
"I think it's a good idea to make our town and park more open for more families to come here," Looney said. "And better opportunities."
Baer said he takes great pride in their community and so do the citizens.
"Mainly for our children and grandchildren," Baer said. "They're the ones that play ball on the fields. They're the ones that primarily use the swimming pools, but also our older people. We have the community center here that we needs some improvements done on that. That's part of our park system. The entire community benefits of we can make these facilities better."
"When people come and visit Perryville, they want to see new stuff and stuff that's kept up," Looney said. "It just gives our town a good name and it helps people that live here."
According to the Missouri Department of Revenue, the estimated average cost per family of the local parks sales tax is $4.29 a month. Also, 51 percent of the sales tax in Perry County is paid for by people that visit Perry County.