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Bonne Terre places property tax on ballot

BONNE TERRE – The Bonne Terre City Council has decided to place a property tax proposal on the August ballot.

During a special meeting Tuesday night, the council unanimously agreed to ask voters to consider a 75 cent per $100 assessed valuation. The city has not collected a property tax since about 1979.

The money generated from this tax will be used &#8220for municipal purposes, including but not limited to funding capital improvements consisting of community facilities and storm drainage improvements.”

The council began discussing a tax issue a few months ago. The deadline for putting a proposition on the August ballot is May 30.

City Manager Ron Thomure said the last time the city had a property tax it was set at $1 per $100 assessed valuation. He believes 75 cents could generate about $190,000 a year.

Mayor Sue Wilke said &#8220community facilities” can range from streets to park improvements. She said the Church Street project, which will begin in late June, will take up most of the funds from the streets/sidewalks sales tax.

She said 80 percent of the cities in Missouri have a property tax. She said she feels the city needs to have a source of revenue if can count on.

Wilke has said a capital improvement tax or property tax would help the city &#8220be ready for tomorrow.”

Jeff LaBrot said he liked that having a property tax would make them eligible for more grants.

Wilke has said there are many issues facing the city now and in the future. She said they are still trying to recover from the financial problems they had five years ago. City officials say the problems were caused in part by the delay of the prison opening.

Wilke said the new city hall/police department is one of the reasons the city is looking into the tax. A few weeks ago, she said no figures have been established on how much it will cost the city to lease or buy. She said the developer, Sharo Shirshekan assured them he is going to work with them to make it affordable, but she added the complex would increase their utility costs.

In other matters, the council entered an agreement with Smith and Company Engineers for further engineering of Church Street. Construction is scheduled to begin after June 26.

Councilwoman Janet Barton again asked the council to consider an ordinance restricting heavy traffic on Church Street. Councilman Gene Archer asked if they could review sample ordinances.

The council also heard reports from Alliance Water Resources. Alliance representatives said they continue to have problems with items being flushed down the pipes from the prison. The items have ranged from plastics to rags, bed sheets, and prison jump suits.

Also, the council approved a resolution related to the nutrition center’s fiscal year 2007 budget.

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