The Jackson County court administrator’s office mailed out ballots Tuesday to 697 downtown registered voters who qualified for the downtown streetcar mail-in election.
Those ballots are due back to the court by Dec. 11.
Court officials said 739 applications for ballots were submitted, and 697 of those were confirmed and approved for ballots. Election officials have said that the downtown precincts within the streetcar district boundary have about 3,600 active voters registered. So roughly 20 percent are on course to vote, which is a typical turnout for a non-presidential election.
But it’s an unusual election and does not involve going to the polls on a specified day. Instead, people receive a ballot in the mail, fill it out and mail it back in a notarized envelope.
The streetcar district boundaries were approved in a previous mail-in election this summer. Now voters are faced with whether to approve specific tax increases within those downtown boundaries to help pay for the streetcars. They would run from River Market to Union Station, primarily on Main Street.
Voters face a ballot seeking approval for a 1-cent sales tax increase within the downtown district. It also seeks approval for a tax increase of 48 cents per $100 of assessed value on commercial property and a tax increase of 70 cents per $100 of assessed value on residential properties.
The owner of a $200,000 condo (market value, which differs from assessed value) would pay $266 more in annual property taxes if the increase is approved. That constitutes an 8.7 percent residential property tax increase. Commercial owners would pay about $1,500 more annually for every $1 million of the commercial property’s market value. That’s a commercial property tax increase of 5 percent.