FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
City Council will meet at 11:30 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 29 at Historic City Hall Council Chambers to discuss and possibly vote on a continuation of the City’s level property tax (LPT) levy to pay for unfunded capital improvement and staffing needs. The continuation would not be a tax increase, and bringing the issue back to voters would clarify authorized uses of the level tax, which has been in place since 1995.
Citizens will again have the opportunity to speak to Council as the public hearing continues on a bill introduced Aug. 22, that if approved, would send the issue to the voters Nov. 7. To sign up to speak on the bill, contact the City Clerk’s office at 417-864-1651.
Public safety will continue to be a priority for any future use of the ongoing tax, as the City has a long list of identified needs for which it currently does not have a funding source. Proposed projects are drawn from City Council’s priorities of public safety, economic vitality and fiscal sustainability. Proposed funded projects include, but are not limited to: new police and fire facilities, public safety apparatus, vehicles, staffing and maintenance; and improvements of stormwater infrastructure and City facilities.
“The City has consistently completed tax-funded projects as promised and our citizens have repeatedly renewed measures such as this level property tax and the 1/8-cent transportation and 1/4-cent capital improvements taxes by wide margins,” said Mayor Ken McClure. “We appreciate that support, which is vitally needed to maintain and improve our public safety commitment.”
Should the issue be sent to voters by Council, a comprehensive public education campaign and dialogue will include opportunities for residents to learn more about the proposal and continue to share their opinions on the matter between now and the Nov. 7 election.
Currently, Springfield residents pay a 27-cent property tax (per $100 of assessed value), which generates approximately $8.5 million per year.
Currently, Springfield residents pay a 27-cent property tax (per $100 of assessed value), which generates approximately $8.5 million per year. The market value of property is multiplied by the state level of assessment. For commercial property that is 32% of market value, residential property is 19% of market value and agricultural property is 12% of market value.
Renewed by voters in 1999, 2001 and 2004, the LPT has funded large-scale capital projects, such as police and fire station construction, public safety apparatus and vehicles, stormwater improvement projects and emergency storm warning systems. These projects have been completed as promised with no increase in the tax rate.
LPT in its current form primarily funds projects via issuance of debt, with bonds issued and paid off over multiple years. As debt gets paid down and projects are completed, more “headroom” is available to address urgent needs. The current tax expires when the last bond payments are made, which is presently expected to occur in 2031.
City Manager Greg Burris presented details twice to Springfield City Council’s Finance & Administration Committee, which voted to refer the issue to the full City Council July 25. Details were again shared publicly at a Council lunch workshop Aug. 1.
A multidisciplinary team of staff members, including Deputy City Manager Tim Smith, Assistant City Manager Collin Quigley, Police Chief Paul Williams, Fire Chief David Pennington, Public Works Director Dan Smith, Finance Director David Holtmann, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement Cora Scott, Director of Information Systems Jeff Coiner assisted Burris with the proposal. City Council members have provided the City Attorney’s office with several requested amendments that will be discussed and are anticipated to be voted on during Tuesday’s meeting before any measure is placed on the November ballot.
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For more information, contact Cora Scott, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement, at 417-380-3352 or [email protected].