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County Commission Communications

A Periodic Column Written by Ed Douglas, Presiding Commissioner

2017 - A Step Forward | Budget Finalized | Budget Work | County Sales Tax Initiative

2016 Newsletter Topics | 2015 Newsletter Topics

A STEP FORWARD FOR LIVINGSTON COUNTY
MARCH 29, 2017

Over the course of the last year, our past and current County Commission has prepared for the election this April 4th. This preparation has included a study of Livingston County's long-term needs as well as comparison studies of the revenue and expenses of other counties in the State of Missouri. Additionally, in the last six months, we have held nearly 50 public meetings with as many clubs and organizations as we could, including the Chamber of Commerce and the Chillicothe Development Corporation's CEO Round Table, all four wards in Chillicothe, and all 13 townships in Livingston County. We have tried to be factual, consistent, and open and honest with the long-term needs of the County and how they should best be met.

I am very appreciative of the help of our current commissioners, East District Commissioner Alvin Thompson and West District Commissioner Dave Mapel, as well as the support of all our elected officials and staff. I am especially appreciative of the help given by our three retired commissioners who have co-chaired the effort with us - retired Presiding Commissioner Eva Danner Horton, retired East District Commissioner Ken Lauhoff, and retired West District Commissioner Todd Rodenberg. These three have 48 years combined years of service and had already put in their time and service to Livingston County but because of the importance of this issue, they choose to give their full effort, time, and support to this cause. I would also like to thank the City of Chillicothe and the City Council for unanimously approving a resolution in support of our sales tax.

In summary, our county is asking for a 1/2 cent sales tax increase on top of our current 3/4 of 1%. This would make our sales tax 1 1/4% which would be then equal to the lowest of the six counties that connect to our county. The sales tax rates in those counties are Caldwell 2.50%, Linn 2.00%, Daviess 2.00%, Chariton 1.875%, Grundy 1.50% and Carroll 1.25%. (It should also be noted that Livingston County has a very small real estate tax; and these surrounding counties all have a significantly higher real estate tax rate than Livingston County.)

With the proposed additional funds requested from the sales tax increase, our county will be able to keep up with increasing prisoner/jail expense, significantly improve county roads in partnership with townships, and work with the city to improve roads of mutual interest (like Litton Road). Furthermore, these additional funds will allow us (in partnership with the city of Chillicothe) to maintain a high quality 9-1-1 Emergency Service, preserve our facilities (court house, sheriff's office, and the road and bridge barn) and over time build an adequate reserve fund commensurate with other counties to handle emergencies. It should be noted at the end of this year's county budget, Livingston County's operating balances were approximately $35,000 which is woefully inadequate, especially when compared to some of these same surrounding counties that have several million dollars or more in operating reserves. Data shows that 44% of the revenue for the sales tax will come from people outside our county. Data also shows that the 1/2 cent sales tax increase would cost the average family in Livingston County approximately $8.75 per month.

Both our current and past commission did not take lightly putting forth a sales tax increase. In our judgment, as your elected officials, the needs of our county cannot be met with current revenue or further expense reductions, which therefore, required this sales tax increase proposal. Thank you in advance for your consideration of this issue and thanks also to all the people who have helped us and listened to our message.

2016 - Election Congratulations (Nov 2016)
Plans for County Roads (Oct 2016) | Country Revenue Shortfall (Sept 2016) | County Sales Tax Proposal (09/26/16)
County History and Facts (Aug 2016) | Addressing Constituent Question (July 2016)
Job Descriptions Unfamiliar to Public (Jun 2016) | Revenues Stagnant But Expenses Rise (May 2016)
Still Important to Try to Buy Locally (Mar 2016) | Courthouse Happenings (Feb 2016)
2016 County Budget - Tight, But Workable for Another Year
| Jail Costs Increasing Significantly (Jan 2016)

2015 - Tax Rate Comparisons Between Counties (10/15) | Emergency Preparedness (09/15)
A Visit to the Daviess-DeKalb Regional Jail (07/15) | Pay Me Now or Pay Me Later (06/15)
Learning More About County Law Enforcement (06/15) |
Our Township Form of Government (05/15)
Court House Offices to be Open During Noon Hour (04/15)
|
The Importance of Buying Locally (03/15)
The County Budget (Jan/Feb 2015)

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