Realty group neutral in tax debate

Although Proposition 6 could cut into profits, some realtors see a higher tax as necessary.
Friday, October 21, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:47 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Columbia Board of Realtors has decided not to take an official position on Propositions 1 through 6, a set of proposals the City Council has placed on the Nov. 8 ballot to pay for an array of capital projects.

Propositions 1 through 3 seek extensions of existing taxes to pay for parks and public safety projects. Proposition 4 also seeks a tax extension for streets, sidewalks and related transportation work. Proposition 5 would increase by one-eighth of a cent the capital improvements sales tax for streets.

Proposition 6 is of particular interest to the Realtors board. It would authorize the City Council to gradually increase the charge on new development from 10 to 50 cents per square foot over the next five years. City projections show that increase would generate $19 million over the next 10 years.

Board director Carol Van Gorp said the board recognizes that good roads are important for the community, but its members could not reach a consensus on how roads should be financed.

“Our board of directors has been listening to the membership, and the one single thing that has come out is that good safe roads should be had, but we’re divided on how to pay for them. So it’s for the best interest to take no position on them,” Van Gorp said.

John John, a former Fifth Ward councilman and a Realtor with Re/Max of Boone County, said he wishes the board could have reached a decision.

“I wish they would have fought through so we could have a strong statement one way or another, but it is a organization that is set up to help real estate agents operate their business through the (Multi Listing Service), and it has just begun to become politically active, and it might not be ready to take that step yet,” John said.

John said he plans to vote for all the propositions.

“I am leaning toward voting for them all,” John said. “I don’t exactly believe that each and every one of them is done well or done right, but in the whole I would probably go ahead and vote for them because most of them are needed and close to OK.”

John said Proposition 6 is “probably too heavy.”

“It hurts lower-end potential homeowners more than it hurts anyone else,” he said, “but even with its flaws, I’m probably leaning toward it.”

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