Sales tax increase is effective April 1
November 16, 2006
The citizens of Joplin showed their support for the ½-cent sales tax increase to be used for public safety with 53% of voters affirming the tax at the November 7, 2006 election. With 13,597 residents voting on the issue, 7,256 favored the increase, while 6,341 voted to deny it.

With the passage of the tax Joplin’s total sales-tax rate, including city, county and state taxes, in the part of Joplin that is in Jasper County would increase to 7.825 percent. The part of Joplin inside Newton County would have a total rate of 7.725 percent.

Collection of the sales tax will begin on April 1, 2007, with revenues from this new source becoming available in June 2007. The city council met earlier this week to approve an ordinance that formally enacts this sales tax that should generate about $5.6 million a year.

The top priority stated by city council-appointed Public Safety Funding Task Force was to put more police officers on patrol in Joplin. This sale tax will allow for an additional 30 more police officers to be hired, including 25 patrol officers and five additional police personnel designated to other specific areas. Another priority was to build a fire station in the western part of Joplin to better serve the emerging needs of that area.

The task force worked to gather information regarding current resources in the police and fire departments, to identify and prioritize future needs of these departments and to determine a funding source to pay for the recommendations. Many of these committee members also continued their work by serving on the Public Safety Tax Coalition which educated residents about the specific needs that would be addressed with the additional revenues.

Following the passage of the sales tax, Keenan Cortez, chairman of both the task force and coalition, stated, “It was an extremely rewarding process for me personally to work in a volunteer capacity and accomplish something that was so badly needed to help the city and its residents. I am extremely encouraged, excited and proud to be a citizen of Joplin.”

An oversight committee of this sales tax will be formed in the near future, as it has been discussed in previous city council meetings.

For more information about the prioritized items of the public safety tax, go to the city's website.

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