Sales tax 
renewal on April ballot

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

County hopes half-cent roads, bridges tax will pass again

Officials in Barry County are hoping voters will again renew the half-cent sales tax for roads and bridges for another five years.

Cherry Warren, presiding commissioner, said the tax brings in about $2 million per year, all of which is used for roads and bridges. In 2015, the final revenue figure from the tax was about 2,031,553.96.

"This is not a new tax," Warren said. "It is just time for voters to approve another five-year extension, so we can have money for roads and bridges."

The tax provides 49 percent of the money road districts receive from the county. It has been renewed for five years five separate times, as it was originally passed in 1986, then renewed in 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011.

"It would be devastating to our county road system if the tax extension does not pass, especially with the flooding damage last year," Warren said. "We are hopeful FEMA will pick up most of that slack."

Tax dollars are divided among the 15 special road districts and one common road district according to assessed valuation and miles of roads within each district.

In 2006, the renewal was approved by 82 percent of the county's voters. Figures for the 2011 renewal were not readily available.

The full text of the ballot initiative reads: "Shall the County of Barry continue to levy the one half (1/2) cent county wide sales tax for a period of five (5) years, for the purpose of capital improvements to county roads and bridges."

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