Capital Improvement Sales Tax Up For Renewal In Tuesday's Election
When Springfield voters go to the polls on Tuesday (April 2), they'll be voting on several things. One of them is whether to renew the city's one-fourth cent sales tax for capital improvements. KSMU's Shane Franklin has more.
“I’m standing here in the shade southwest of the intersection of Fremont Avenue and Sunset, here in Springfield. The shade is provided by the band of trees separating the intersection from Meador Sports Complex. These trees are just one of many projects funded by the Quarter Cent Capitol Improvement Sales Tax first approved by Springfield voters back in 1989.”
The sales tax has paved the way for more than 100 projects, totaling $115, throughout Springfield over the years. If it's renewed, taxes will remain the same, since the sales tax is already in effect.
One of those projects allowed the city to buy, plant, and groom trees in areas where they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. Casey Killner is the Urban Forester for the City of Springfield.
“Most specifically it supports our Neighborwood program, a program where we go out and organize with the neighborhood a planting on the right of way and they then maintain those trees for up to three to five years,” says Killner.
She says the tree planting has created community involvement, too.
“The City benefits in many ways: socially, economically, energy-savings, [and] storm-water mitigation. Studies have shown that tree-lined streets reduce crime in your area. There [is] tons of research showing that when you get kids outside and have them work in area around trees an nature that it can reduce things like attention deficit disorder and it can improves their focus in the classroom," says Killner.
Killner also says the downtown areas with more tree cover in the summer generally get more sales.
According to the City of Springfield, the Quarter-Cent Capital Improvement Sales Tax has also paid for hundreds of miles of resurfaced streets, more than 100 miles of sidewalk repair, 50 miles of new sidewalk, over 34 thousand public street signs, numerous center-city revitalization efforts, and over 25 miles of bike lanes.
Again, if the quarter-cent sales tax is renewed on April 2nd taxes will not go up nor down. The City already has ideas for what it will do if the tax is renewed: some of those include a school sidewalk program, major street paving, additional center city development projects, and working on better flood control.
Also according to the city, a significant portion of the revenue from the tax comes from visitors to Springfield.