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TODAY'S QUESTION: Do you support Proposition 1, the parks sales tax?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 | 2:27 p.m. CDT; updated 10:49 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, October 13, 2010

COLUMBIA — Proposition 1, or the parks sales tax, is up for renewal in November.

The renewable one-eighth-cent sales tax is voted on every five years, and it is one half of a quarter-cent tax dedicated to Columbia's Parks and Recreation Department. Although the wording of the proposition includes "shall ... impose," voting yes will not create a new tax; it would be the continuation of an existing one.

The other half of the quarter-cent tax is permanent and goes toward the department's operating budget and paying off land-acquisition debt.

If approved, the tax will bring in approximately $12 million over the next five years. This money is primarily used for capital improvement projects in Columbia's park system. About $2 million will go to land acquisition and preservation. Other earmarks for the money are $4.7 million to improving existing parks, $2 million to trails and greenbelts and $2.5 million to the development of new facilities and parks. In addition, there is about $600,000 planned for contingency. A comprehensive list of projects can be found at the city of Columbia website.

If the proposition is not approved, the sales tax will drop one-eighth of one cent. That means Columbia residents would not have to spend one penny in sales tax for every $8 they spend.

Do you support Proposition 1?


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Comments

Ray Shapiro October 12, 2010 | 2:59 p.m.

("If the proposition is not approved, the sales tax will drop one-eighth of one cent. That means Columbia residents would not have to spend one penny in sales tax for every $8 they spend.")

It's not about the penny. It's about the city's Parks and Recreation budget and twelve million dollars.
Why should P&R get funding from taxpayers above and beyond what our city council allocates?
Is there a sales tax slush fund for CPD?
Is there a sales tax slush fund for our Firefighters?
Is there a sales tax slush fund for our School Teachers?
Is there a sales tax slush fund for our snow removal operations?
Is there a sales tax slush fund for our drinking water processing?
I'm certain that even GetAbout Columbia would like to add some sales tax slush fund money to their federal funding.
(Afterall, no city venture could ever have enough money.)
And while we're at it, how about a sales tax so that "The District" can install their "safety" cameras?
I'll be voting No on Proposition 1.

(Report Comment)
hank ottinger October 13, 2010 | 4:35 p.m.

An eighth of a penny. Visualize that. Then think of the great park system Columbia enjoys. Think of the thousands of kids who romp and play on the city's soccer fields; think of the tranquility of Grindstone and Russell parks; think of the unique biking and walking trails of the MKT; think of the many pocket parks throughout our neighborhoods, spots where families can take their kids to hit the swings and seesaws, where anybody can take a book on a warm fall day, sit on a bench, and soak up some sun. All for an eighth of a penny to keep up and improve this wonderful batch of amenities rolling along. Yes for Parks!

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro October 13, 2010 | 5:04 p.m.

("Think of the thousands of kids who romp and play on the city's soccer fields; think of the tranquility of Grindstone and Russell parks; think of the unique biking and walking trails of the MKT; think of the many pocket parks throughout our neighborhoods, spots where families can take their kids to hit the swings and seesaws, where anybody can take a book on a warm fall day, sit on a bench, and soak up some sun.")
Are you telling me that that which has been built or land purchased was done with no other budget plan for future up keep except for an ever-renewing sales tax?
Are you telling me that there's no other way to provide up keep except for this sales tax?
Are you holding the future condition of our current parks hostage?
Are you telling me that P&R lacks the creativity or clout to maintain its parks?
Heck, even when P&R cut the Adaptive Program for Disabled Columbians, their friends/families/providers, we found a way to continue...without a Sales Tax.
Again, it's not about pennies. It's about good fiscal management, future planning and having developers pay into building parks in their subdivisions and using the City Council to approve budgets for these services and programs.
Just my two cents, Hank.

(Report Comment)
hank ottinger October 13, 2010 | 10:20 p.m.

No, Mr. Shapiro: I'm not "telling" you anything. I'm simply stating my opinion that Columbia's parks are worth enhancing and improving, and that a mere eighth of a cent is a good way to accomplish that. I'm sure that you're aware how strapped most cities are these days, and Columbia is no exception (although it's better off than many). Where would you suggest the city get $12 million over the next five years? Which departments would you gouge? How would you assess developers, and how willing do you think they'd be to ante up park funds, especially for acquisition as the city expands? I'm convinced, based on my own experience, that Columbia's Parks and Rec is a class act, professional, well-managed, and visionary. An eighth of a penny will assure that it stays that way.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance October 13, 2010 | 11:43 p.m.

Ray is the general expert on everything.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro October 14, 2010 | 12:54 a.m.

Here are two extremes regarding park sales tax initiatives;
In a ten year period, Wentzville's population increased by 400%
I can see their need to give some special attention above and beyond.
http://www.wentzvillemo.org/project-park...
On a larger scale, here's a park sales tax where there's also a reduction in property taxes.
http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/8...
And then there are towns with people who have Park fever.
Just seems to me like we're growing a new park every day, in select subdivisions and buying private land every chance we get. And then, there's no park rangers, clean bathrooms or well supervised swimming holes. I guess we need to keep those builders building and grab up land every step of the way. Let me know when Boone County and Columbia is one and the same.

(Report Comment)

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