Callaway County special election could lead to another sales tax

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CALLAWAY COUNTY - Two propositions on the election ballot Tuesday could increase sales taxes in Callaway County.

If passed, the county would impose a countywide sales tax at .5% for each proposition for the benefit of local law enforcement. 

"Callaway County is one of the bigger counties in the area, I believe. They're very short-staffed to cover that much area given the number of calls they have to answer," Fulton Police Chief Steve Myers said.

According to the sample ballot, Proposition 1 would use the additional money to provide law enforcement services for the county, including:

  • increasing the number of deputy sheriffs on patrol, investigators, corrections officers and others
  • enhancing compensation packages to improve competitive hiring and retention 
  • supplementing the cost of construction, renovation and operation of law enforcement facilities. 

Proposition 1 must pass in order for approval of Proposition 2.

Proposition 2, according to the sample ballot, would raise the sales tax by .5% for 21 years in order to update law enforcement facilities:

  • construction of a new Justice Center
  • expansion of the Callaway County Law Enforcement Center 
  • transition of the existing courthouse into a County Government Center

An employee at a local gas station said Callaway County already charges the most in sales taxes.

Myers responded to that sentiment.

"We all think we're paying too many taxes, but this is an issue of safety, public safety," he said. 

Myers said the tax is necessary, because facilities are overcrowded and in poor condition. 

"The present courthouse is basically unsafe, given the violence we see with prisoners," he said. 

Myers also said the sales tax is not solely the county residents' responsibility. 

"This is going to be a sales tax. So, county citizens would pay some of that, but also, we have I-70 running through here, so we have a lot of people traveling through here," he said.

Callaway County is one of many counties across the state holding elections.

Voters can cast their vote from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.