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Local street tax okayed by voters

by Ivan Foley and Kim Fickett
Landmark staff

The second time was the charm for a Platte City sales tax proposal.
Voters in the city on Tuesday approved a 3/8 cent sales tax for street improvements by a margin of 220 in favor to 194 opposed, or 53% to 47%.

Only 14.41% of Platte City's registered voters cast ballots.

Back in April, voters had resoundingly defeated a similar proposal by 65% to 35%. At that time, the tax proposal did not include a sunset clause, meaning the tax would have continued indefinitely. This time, the city added the clause, and the tax will terminate when $4 million in general obligation bonds are paid off. Those bonds were approved by voters back in April at the same election in which the sales tax failed.

"I'm glad to see that it was supported," said Keith Moody, city administrator. Moody praised the work of a grassroots commmittee, Citizens for Street Improvements, in helping to earn support for the tax. He said the mayor and aldermen also made a concerted effort to get information out to voters.

In reference to the slim margin of approval, Moody said: "I don't know what to make of that. It came quite a ways (from last time). That's a fair margin to overcome. It is a tax issue, so I understand those issues are tough issues for folks to decide on.”

Moody said the voter turnout, though still low, was more than the city anticipated.

"I appreciate that the turnout was over 400, which in an election on just one issue, I think for Platte City is a fair turnout, looking historically at Platte City's turnout. We were anticipating around 250 people voting," Moody said Tuesday night.

The successful vote means the city will implement the next phase of its capital improvement program (CIP). The new tax is expected to support street projects from 2006 to 2009.


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