ELECTIONS

This photo shows one of the polling locations at the Buchanan County courthouse.

Two sales tax increases are on the ballot for Tuesday’s special election, which is expected to have significantly low turnout.

The first sales tax is a half-cent increase that would generate $5 to $6 million a year for 10 years to be used for the Parks, Recreation and Civic Facilities Department.

If passed, the funds will be used for a variety of projects that have been pushed to the backburner by the department due to a lack of money and staff. Projects that would receive the most money over the 10 years are Krug Park ($12.775 million) and the Aquatic Park ($7.7 million).

The second item on the ballot is a quarter-cent increase to the law enforcement tax voters approved in 2010. If the tax passes Tuesday, the funds will be used to hire staff and offer more competitive salaries.

Two sales tax increases on one ballot is rare in Buchanan County.

“Typically, when there is a tax issue, it’s usually a one-issue ballot,” said Mary Baack-Garvey, the Buchanan County Clerk. “But both the county and city want these to run so they just agreed to put it on one ballot.”

In past elections, two financial initiatives on one ballot haven’t fared well, with both measures failing. But both those instances were during general elections in November. This special election in August will have a much lower turnout, possibly less than 10%.

“I don’t think it’s going to be very busy tomorrow,” Baack-Garvey said. “Pretty light turnout, I’m hoping we get to 10%, we’ll see. Having two questions on the ballot might spark some interest for the voters, but just by looking at the people coming into the counter to vote absentee, it’s been really light.”

If you plan on voting, make sure to know your polling location and bring a form of identification. Polls will open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. COVID-19 precautions will be taken.

“Be aware of social distancing still,” Baack-Garvey said. “We’ll have masks provided if those voters feel comfortable wearing a mask, we’ll have those for them. We will also have judges constantly wiping down the tables and the pens that they use, so we’re doing everything we can to keep everybody safe.”

You can view the sample ballot based on your precinct at https://co.buchanan.mo.us/157/County-Clerk.

Quinn Ritzdorf can be reached at quinn.ritzdorf@newspressnow.com

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