Sales tax question on Aug. 11 ballot

Glenn Parrish

Booneville voters will decide Tuesday on whether to renew a one percent sales tax collected in the city.

Five times city voters have approved the tax by a comfortable margin.

Booneville Mayor Jerry Wilkins said last week he hasn’t been actively campaigning for passage of the tax again, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t concerned, or that he isn’t appreciative of what the tax has meant to the 10 beneficiaries.

“It’s very important for the city of Booneville. There’s several agencies that rely on this,” said Wilkins.

The funding formula for the tax, if continued for a sixth term, will remain unchanged from the current formula which calls for a city improvement account to reap 30 percent of the proceeds. That is the account used for various needs including contributions to the Boys & Girls Club.

The Booneville Police Department receives 22 percent of the collections; the Booneville Fire Department and Area Agency/Senior Center 10 percent each; the Booneville Airport 7 percent; the Booneville Street Department, the city’s parks commission, and animal control offices all 5 percent, the BDC/Chamber 4 percent, and Oak Hill Cemetery 2 percent.

With the tax set to expire city officials set an April 14 special election seeking a sixth five-year term for collections but that election was postponed due to the pandemic and reset for Tuesday, June 9.

However, that election was scrubbed because there were not 60 days between the passage of the ordinance to reset the election and the election date.

When the council met on May 18, another ordinance was passed to set the election date for Aug. 11.

Booneville voters have typically overwhelmingly approved the tax including the last request, in March of 2015, by a count of 81-3.

When the tax was initially passed in 1995 it did so with 73.1 percent of the vote. In 2000 it was approved with 86.3 percent of the vote. In 2005 the measure was approved with 83.7 percent of the vote.

Put on a primary ballot 10 years ago the approval was still a two-to-one margin although the 566 votes cast was the most ever cast on the question.

In 2019 the tax collected $705,909.62. Thus far in 2020 the tax has taken in more than $470,000.

Early voting on the question started on Aug. 4 and will continue through Monday during normal working hours in the Logan County Clerk’s office in the courthouse in Booneville.

Poll voting will take place on Aug. 11 at the Jeral Hampton Meeting Place at Bennett and Main.

Because the matter effects eligible purchases within the city of Booneville, only registered voters in Booneville Wards I-III are eligible to participate.