Columbia City Council puts park sales tax on November ballot

Monday, August 16, 2010 | 11:27 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Voters will be able to extend or terminate a temporary one-eighth of 1 percent park sales tax after the City Council voted to put the measure on the November ballot at its meeting Monday night.

If the ballot measure is approved, it would generate $12 million to acquire land and improve existing parks, based on fund allocations the council amendedMonday.

“This parks tax designating a certain amount of money for land preservation, wildlife corridors and green spaces is a step in the right direction, and it is very important,” said Dee Dokken, a member of the Columbia Vision Commission.

The proposed land acquisition, as approved by the council, is a little less than 17 percent, short of the 20 percent requested by citizens, Dokken said.

Paul Love, a former mayoral candidate, asked for more spending on safe parks instead of green spaces.

“We are going to have a real shortage of money in the future," Love said. "Green spaces are cheaper. Green spaces are also free just outside the city limits."

Barbara Wren, who lives near Stephens Lake Park, agrees that parks are great for the community, but she is also excited about acquiring green spaces. Living on Hinkson Creek, she can see the effects of flooding.

“If you develop in these areas, it’s going to cost the city because if you develop houses and apartments, there's flooding that ends up costing the city," Wren said. "It’s great to have a place for the water to go."

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