Taxpayers could be asked to pay more for roads and health department services if county officials decide to move forward with ballot initiatives to generate additional revenue.

Taxpayers could be asked to pay more for roads and health department services if county officials decide to move forward with ballot initiatives to generate additional revenue.

The Camden County Commission will be holding a Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday, May 1, at 5:30 p.m. to visit with the public on possible tax initiatives  to generate additional funding for road and bridge and the health department.

The meeting will be held in the third floor court room in the old courthouse.  Whether the county will move forward with tax issues will depend on the public input.

"We will always operate within the funds that the citizenry supply us, but think that they need to be aware of these needs and have the opportunity to address them and tell us here at the commission how they want us to proceed," said Presiding Commissioner Kris Franken.

Road and Bridge levy
For the road and bridge department, voters may be asked to approve an increase to the existing levy of 11 to 14 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. That would increase the levy to 22 to 25 cents.

According to information provided by the county that would allow the department order to get the overlaying of asphalt roads back on schedule.  A tight budget coupled with the high price of petroleum has reduced the number of roads that the can overlay each year, and has totally eliminated the hard surfacing of existing gravel roads.

Health Department
A levy of 10 cents per $100 of valuation would fund the Health Department at its current level and allow payments into a capital improvement fund that would allow for construction of a facility that would belong to the county within 5 years,. The  capital improvement fund would then be used  for facility maintenance and equipment upgrades.

 The current health department budget is $933,433.00. The majority of that comes from  the county’s general revenue. The health department provides an extensive list of services, including immunization clinics, screenings, inspections, and educational services.

Franken said the health department is currently in a  “borrowed” building, and if things were to change regarding that issue, "we could be scrambling for a place" to house the health department. 

" If the citizenry wants to have a levy that would assume that we will always have access to the building that we currently have and that the facility will always meet the needs of the Health Department, we could reduce the levy to 8 cents per $100 of valuation," he said.

The health department partnered with Lake Regional Health System in 2007 to use the existing facility. The agreement automatically renews for an additional year unless either party gives the other notice of at least 90 days prior to the termination of the extension.
Lake Regional officials said there has been no discussions on their end about discontinuing the agreement.

Special Use Tax
Camden County officials are moving forward with a special use tax. What hasn't been decided is if voters will see it on the August or the November ballot.

The special use tax is in response to a  Missouri Supreme Court ruling that went into effect on earlier this year, stopping the collection of county and city sales taxes on out-of-state purchases of cars, trucks, boats, motors, and trailers, and in-state transfer of the same property between individuals. 

The motor vehicle sales tax goes directly to the Camden County Road and Bridge Department for the maintenance of county roads.  In 2011, the amount of funding generated by the tax was $370,310.99, and has been as high as $454,322.60 in recent years.  In addition to county revenue shortfalls, the elimination of the sales tax on these items could have a devastating effect on the local economy because of our reliance on the sales of boats and automobiles, according to information provided by the county.

The ballot initiative would  reinstate the tax at the exact same rate as the current tax, but will be charged as a “special use tax”.  It is not a tax increase. 

The last day that the ballot initiative can be filed is May 29, 2012 in order to be on the August 7, 2012 ballot. The issue may be put on hold until November.