Sales tax vote paves way for bright future

Saturday, November 7, 2015

I'm not sure where to start today. I want to both thank and congratulate Sikeston voters for their overwhelming support for the half-cent tax proposal on Tuesday's ballot.

Sikeston voters by a 2-to-1 margin approved the sales tax measure which will help additional funding in our Public Safety, parks and streets.

No one - including myself - wants to pay more taxes. The truth is, there are countless taxes - many well hidden - that I would like to eliminate.

But funding shortfalls because of a stagnant national economy have put our community and others unable to provide some basic services that any community deserves.

But Sikeston officials and a group of engaged citizens combined to make a compelling case for this sales tax increase.

And voters listened and responded.

Justin Taylor and Brian Self chaired the citizens committee and deserve credit for their hard work and dedication to this proposal.

And though I certainly won't list those who deserve additional credit, it goes without saying that Mayor Steven Burch and Public Safety Director Drew Juden were front and center in explaining the need for this new revenue stream.

Ward 1 voters in the northwest portion of Sikeston responded extremely well and their support was largely responsible for the overwhelming approval.

I don't want to throw cold water on any results but it was clearly frustrating for those involved that those in Ward 4 on the west end of Sikeston voted in small numbers and voted against this measure.

The reality is that the west end of our community has the greatest need for law enforcement presence and it is discouraging that there was not greater support in that area for this much-needed proposal.

I am greatly encouraged that following the voting results city officials pledged to provide residents a detailed list of projects and needs that would be addressed with this new sales tax revenue.

Tuesday's results show exactly what a unified community can accomplish if presented with an honest assessment and a realistic solution.

As a community - whether you voted for or against the sales tax - we should be proud that we are moving forward and addressing urgent issues. That alone is the sign of a community willing to do what it takes to grow and prosper.

There are a number of amazingly good projects underway and there's a good chance more will be announced in the near future.

This week's vote sets the stage for that growth.

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