Tax to be on February ballot

Mo McCullough spoke in favor of a new 1⁄2 cent sales tax for a 10-year economic development plan through the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce. No one spoke against the plan.

Mo McCullough spoke in favor of a new 1⁄2 cent sales tax for a 10-year economic development plan through the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce. No one spoke against the plan. Photo by Stephen Brooks.

The Council Chambers were filled Monday as the City Council approved an ordinance placing the “Transformation” sales tax on the Feb. 7 ballot.

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Members of the audience raised their hands in favor of a new 1⁄2 cent sales tax for the Transformation plan through the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce. The plan would raise more than $41 million to complete 30 projects around the city.

Transformation, the economic development strategic plan put forward by the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce, has proposed a 10-year half-cent economic development sales tax that, if passed, would raise more than $41 million to complete a list of 30 projects around the city.

Some of those proposed projects include property not owned by the city or chamber, including the old Missouri State Penitentiary and the current site of St. Mary’s Health Center.

Randy Allen, chamber president and CEO, said the group has been working to secure agreements and memorandums of understanding, or MOUs, with owners of all the needed properties.

Allen said he has had conversations with the governor’s office and the state Office of Administration, both of which were heavily involved in the Transformation process from the start. He said they have indicated the state is “on board” with the proposed projects, and he hopes to have an MOU in place between the city, county and state by Jan. 1.

Phil Freeman, co-chair of the Transformation campaign committee, said MSP will become a major liability if nothing is done soon, and a number of the Transformation proposals address that property.

Allen said Hawthorn Bank has also agreed “in principle” to the use of their property on McCarty Street, behind the bank and First Presbyterian Church, for a 400-space parking garage.

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