Tuesday’s special election saw voters narrowly supporting a children’s tax in Clay County, strongly endorsing a sales tax renewal in Grandview for capital improvements and public safety, and overwhelmingly supporting a sales tax renewal in Independence for streets and bridges.
In Clay County, voters approved a new tax for children’s services with 5,580 voting yes versus 5,519 voting no in unofficial final returns.
Proposition 1 called for a quarter-cent sales tax increase to establish a children’s services fund in Clay County for youths ages 19 and younger.
“I’m grateful to those people that supported this,” said civic leader Anita Gorman, who had campaigned for the tax. “Clay County has always put children first.”
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The new tax was estimated to generate approximately $8 million annually in the county to fund necessary resources and support services for at-risk children and families. The funds will be overseen by an independent, volunteer governing board, with no board member having any financial interest in the fund recipients. Jackson County voters approved a one-eighth-cent sales tax in November for a similar purpose, and seven other Missouri counties also have children’s services funds.
The measure had no organized opposition. Proponents said the need was great in a county where many children with serious emotional disorders lack access to mental health services. The county also cited a need for more transitional housing for troubled youths and for young people aging out of foster care without stable housing options.
The services can include temporary shelter for abused or homeless children, outpatient treatment for drug abuse or psychiatric issues, healthy lifestyles programs and crisis intervention.
In Independence, voters approved a half-cent sales tax renewal 82 percent to 18 percent, 5,783 votes in favor and 1,300 votes against. The transportation tax raises about $8.4 million annually for streets, sidewalk and bridge maintenance and construction. The tax was first approved in 1998, and this vote makes it permanent.
Voters in Grandview approved a half-cent sales tax renewal 73 percent to 27 percent, 671 votes in favor versus 252 votes against, in unofficial final returns. The tax for capital improvements was first approved in 1998. It is expected to generate about $15 million over the next 10 years. Just under half the money is intended for new police vehicles, ambulances, fire gear and equipment as well as police body cameras. The other half of the money can go for other city capital improvements.