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City Council Passes Sales Tax Bill; To Appear on February Ballot

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/citycounci_3915.mp3

Springfield City Council came to a decision last night on the proposed sales tax increase for the city. KMSU’s Erika Brame reports.

A unanimous vote by city council last night means City Manager Greg Burris’s proposal for a one cent sales tax increase now goes to the voters.

The proposal is an attempt to address the $167 million short fall the city is facing regarding the police and fire pension plan.

The ordinance would either end in five years or once the police and fire pension is fully-funded.

At the previous council meeting, Burris outlined his plan and assured voters that the city would maintain its contribution to the struggling fund.

Yet citizen Tom Martz says he wants the city council to pass a separate ordinance that would hold the city to its part of the bargain.

“And we’re fully aware that the only way to fund the pension plan is a sales tax. The sticking point is the 29.88% that the city is obligated to fund on annual basis. If that is not done in ordinance they’ve left themselves a loop hole to where they don’t have to fund that portion,” he said.

Another major bill passed last night was the downtown noise permit.

Councilwoman Cindy Rushefsky says the word “entertainment” is not defined in the bill.

She says this means independent performers, not businesses, will be targeted.

“What the people who are going to be restricted here are those people who want to do their own thing, their own thing in the square, the guy playing guitar in the square,” she said.

Rushefsky says the square is a special place for the citizens of Springfield, and this bill might take that away.

“The square is the city’s front porch,” she said.

That bill is set to end December 31, 2009.

Another square issue, this one over a curfew on Park Central Square, was tabled and sent back to committee for review.

For more information on all of last nights bills, you can visit our website: www.ksmu.org.

For KSMU News I’m Erika Brame.