Voters Guide

Liberty tax questions: Present and future growth prompt three proposals

With its population surging past 30,000, Liberty is trying to keep up with the needs of its residents, present and future. That’s why Liberty voters will see three tax questions on the Nov. 4 ballot.

“It’s almost a citizen referendum,” Mayor Lyndell Brenton said. “You’ve been telling us for a number of years this is what you wanted. So now we’re putting it on a ballot, and we believe all three are very good projects and very likely to pass.”

The proposals:

▪ A use tax to expand a crowded and inadequate animal shelter.

▪ A transient guest tax of 5 percent on hotel rooms, which would generate funds to showcase Liberty as a tourist destination and preserve parts of the historic downtown area.

▪ A three-eights-cent sales tax for economic development that would go, in part, to the South Liberty Parkway. The tax would expire in 2035.

All require simple majorities for passage.

Brenton said there was no organized opposition.

“Once they see where their money is going, our citizens will be supportive of the solution the City Council is offering,” he said.

On the animal shelter, Brenton cited Liberty’s growing population and the emergence of the northern part of Kansas City as reasons that more animals are coming to the shelter.

Lori Rohlfing of the Veterinary Center of Liberty works closely with the animal shelter and is an advocate for expanding the facilities.

“Myself and my veterinary practice are aware of the need for a new animal shelter,” Rohlfing said. “This a wonderful opportunity to showcase Liberty with this new shelter.”

Another goal of the city is revitalizing the downtown district. Since 2005 there has been a major push to restore the area to make it attractive to residents and visitors.

One of the main proponents is Gordon Hadden, a member of the board of directors of Historic Downtown Liberty. He said the tourism tax was needed for Liberty to keep up with other travel destinations in Missouri.

“It doesn’t happen overnight, but the hotel guest tax will allow us to advertise, promote and create more tourism and promote the history of our community,” Hadden said.

South Liberty Parkway would be completed if voters approve the third question. Brenton wants this project to jump ahead with the future growth in the community.

“The beneficiaries are not just the citizens of the city but all the visitors of our city,” he said.