Economic development, tourism promotion taxes approved by Liberty voters

There were three main issues proposed in the 2014 election cycle for Liberty, MO. They included building a new animal shelter, increasing funding to attract tourists to the city, and increasing the amount of residential land and work on the roads to decrease the amount of congestion. The animal shelter would include a 2.5% tax increase to fund a new animal shelter with more employees and updated technology to help the overcrowded shelter in Liberty. The second proposal, with respect to tourists, would create a transient guest tax, which would be paid by any person staying in a hotel to generate revenue towards supporting local festivals, artwork and the history of Liberty. The final problem which includes the traffic from MO-291 and the shortage of residential growth, crosswalks, sidewalks and the roads of Liberty would be funded with an economic development tax, which would be a 3/8 increase on the sales tax paid by anyone who shops in Liberty.

Ballot Question #1: “Shall the City of Liberty impose a local use tax at the same rate as the total local sales tax rate, currently 2.5%, provided that the local sales tax rate is reduced or raised by voter approval, the local use tax rate shall also be reduced or raised by the same action? A use tax return shall not be required to be filed by persons whose purchases from out-of-state vendors do not in total exceed two thousand dollars in any calendar year.”

The first ballot question involved the development of a new animal shelter. The use tax, which would have brought in the funds needed to support this problem would primarily be paid by businesses. It would not exceed $2000 dollars per year. The current animal shelter was built in 1974 and includes twelve dog kennels, twelve cat kennels, a combined office, lobby and visitation center, as well as an examination room, food prep area, and a restroom. It is 1000 sq. feet. According to the city of Liberty’s website, since 2010, over 53% of animals that were brought to the facility over 53% have been reunited with owners, adopted or transferred to a different facility. Ballot Question #1 was not approved by the voters of the city.

Ballot Question #2: “Shall the City of Liberty, Missouri, impose a tax on the charges of all sleeping rooms paid by the transient guests of the hotels and motels situated in Liberty, Missouri at a rate of five percent (5%) for the sole purpose of promoting tourism?”

The second ballot question would create a transient guest tax which will generate approximately $168,000 to promote tourism throughout the city. It will fund signs, local festivals, special events and the outdoor summer series provided by the city. People traveling to Liberty and staying in hotels or motels will pay a five percent tax on their total bill. It would also increase funding to local art projects and artwork in the community. Ballot Question #2 was approved by voters.

Ballot Question #3: “Shall the City of Liberty, Missouri, impose a sales tax at a rate of three-eighths of one percent (0.375%) effective April 1, 2015 and to expire on March 31, 2035 for economic development purposes, including without limitation costs related to the construction of South Liberty Parkway Phase 2 and Downtown infrastructure rehabilitation, and which may include the retirement of financing obligations incurred for any such authorized purposes?”

The third ballot question would increase the sales tax by .375% to create an economic development tax to fund the fixing of roads and increasing residential development. It will start April 1, 2015 and will end March 31, 2035. The estimated funding for this is about 69 million dollars, approximately 10 million dollars is being funded by Liberty residents. This new economic development tax plans to reconstruct or expand Flintlock Flyover, Liberty Drive, Franklin Street and I-35 South Liberty Interchange. This tax will also improve sidewalks, crosswalks, and historic downtown Liberty. Ballot Question #3 was approved by the voters of the city.

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