An eighth-cent sales tax would generate money for both The Centre and city parks, not just The Centre, as reported Wednesday.
City Administrator John Butz offered some clarification about the options facing the Rolla City Council for the continued operation of The Centre, currently funded by a one-half-cent sales tax that will “sunset” Dec. 31.
“Thanks for the thorough article in today’s paper following our rather lengthy discussion Monday night,” Butz wrote in an email regarding the lead story Wednesday titled “What happens after the sales tax ends?”
Continuing, Butz wrote, “I did want to make sure you knew that the 1/8 cent sales tax as proposed would address the operational short-fall to both The Centre and parks.”
The story had reported that there would be “no funding for improvements or upgrades to the parks” with the one-eighth-cent sales tax. That’s technically correct since there would not be sufficient funding for capital improvements or upgrades, but that statement might give the erroneous impression that the parks would not be funded at all with the eighth-cent tax. That’s the wrong impression.
“1/8 cent would generate approximately $450,000 – $470,000 which would be split between traditional park amenities/operations and rec center operating support,” Butz said.
Asking voters to approve the eighth-cent tax to replace the half-cent current tax was one of the options presented by Butz at a council workshop Monday night, May 13.
Another option was a quarter-cent sales tax that would drop to an eighth-cent after a number of years, perhaps five to seven. That would give money to the parks not just for operations, but also for capital improvements during the period of time that full quarter-cent would be collected.
“The suggestion of a 1/4 cent sales tax falling back to 1/8th after 3 – 7 years would provide additional capital funding dedicated totally for the park system (i.e. playground improvements, restrooms, parking lots, ball fields),” he said.
“Under either scenario the City would still need to make an operating transfer from the General Fund to the Park Fund for park operations but it would be in the sustained $100,000 - $200,000 range rather than the traditional $400,000 – $450,000 range. Just wanted to clarify. Thanks,” he said.
A permanent quarter-cent would cover operating support of The Centre and long-term investment in parks and facilities.