How do we know that the tax revenues will go to Public Safety needs, such as more officers and firefighters, needed equipment and facilities?
The ballot language specifically says that the tax is levied for “municipal public safety purposes”. See below for the full ballot question.
Proposition Public Safety
Shall the City Council of the City of Joplin, Missouri, be authorized to levy and impose annually for municipal public safety purposes upon all subjects and objects of taxation within its corporate limits a tax which shall not exceed the maximum rate of one dollar on the one hundred dollars assessed valuation?
How can I figure out how much this tax liability will be for my house and my vehicle?
The calculation is written as (A x B) / C x D = Tax Liability
The tables below show examples. The first one is for residential real property, and the bottom table shows an example for personal property.
Why is this initiative using a property tax instead of a sales tax?
A sales tax fluctuates based on goods bought in Joplin. In past years, the sales tax revenues have remained relatively flat and have not kept up with the increasing cost of services, limiting growth to personnel and the ability to provide services to citizens.
A property tax is a more consistent source of revenue that can be used for necessary resources needed to continue and improve public safety services. This can include payroll for new and existing employees, as well as support for ongoing and new police and fire services to protect our citizens.
Sale Tax returns can be unpredictable due to economy
The City’s sales tax rate is at 3.125%, which is close to the total a municipality can assess. The City’s tax rate is added to the state’s and counties’ bringing Joplin/Jasper County to 8.725% and Joplin/Newton County’s to 8.975%, both of which are near the top of other sales tax rates in the state.
Property Tax relates to the cost of services
The City’s property tax rate is $0.1746, which is one of the lowest in the state for a municipality. The revenues from the City’s collection are used to fund services from the Health Department, Parks and Recreation and Solid Waste (Recycling). Other jurisdictions also assess a property tax, including Joplin Schools, Jasper/Newton County, the State, County 911, etc. which brings the total property tax rate to $4.67 for Joplin/Jasper County and $4.53 for Joplin/Newton County.
Why didn’t this get fixed by Prop B that we voted for in 2019?
Prop B is dedicated to fully funding retirement benefits and securing the transition of police and firefighters’ pensions to a more cost-effective retirement plan. Prop B revenues can only be used for three things and does include a sunset date:
Provided secure benefits to members (retirees, future retirees, and their eligible dependents) of the closed police and fire pension plan, ensuring every last member receives their full benefit;
Moved the current police and fire employees who chose to migrate to Missouri LAGERS, (Local Government Employees Retirement System); and
Reduced the Police and Fire LAGERS contribution rate as a percentage of payroll.
This tax will continue until the earlier of 12 years or when the police and fire pension plan reaches 120% funded status. The pension plan, by way of Prop B, is projected to reach 120% funded status well ahead of the 12 years!
We voted for the Use Tax in November, so why can’t these dollars be used for Police and Fire funding?
Revenues from the Use Tax are distributed into the same funds as the sales tax revenues and are collected at the same rate of 3.125%. The City estimated receiving $3.7 million over time from the Use Tax. Below is a chart showing the distribution of how these revenues are allocated to the specific funds and the correlating dollar amounts generated by the Use Tax.
The Public Safety portion is projected to receive approximately $592,000. This portion of the public safety use tax proceeds that isn’t being allocated to specific action plans already promised will be used to fund the items set forth in Proposition Public Safety, along with the property tax proceeds.
How do we know the City won’t be back asking for more money for public safety?
This is a long-term plan that brought several representatives from the Police and Fire Departments, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 27, and the Joplin Professional Firefighters Local 59 together to meet with City administration to address concerns and develop a long-term solution.
The City and both unions came to an agreement and each organization has a signed contract as a resolution to the issues the departments have been facing.
Paid for by the City of Joplin | Nick Edwards, City Manager | 602 S. Main Street, Joplin, MO 64801