CARL JUNCTION, Mo. —
During a special meeting Friday night, city officials approved the ballot language of a $2 million bond issue for new parks and recreation construction, including baseball and softball fields.
The City Council placed the bond issue on the April 8 ballot, with seven voting in favor and one abstention. If voters approve the ballot issue in April, the debt would be paid off through an increase in property taxes.
Jack Bell, of Carl Junction, told city officials he thinks the new fields would give local children something to do.
“They’re going to be the future leaders of our area,” Bell said. “So, let’s give them all we can and keep them off the streets.”
Even though he no longer has children in the area, Bell said, the community helped raise his children, and he wants to help raise someone else’s.
Councilman Bob Cook, who launched the idea for a sports complex about a year ago, said even if he has to go door to door, he wants the ballot issue to pass.
“The school system built this town,” Cook said. “Our kids are the future of this town. We need a place that we’re proud of that they can play on.”
Cook encouraged other city officials to send the bond issue to the public, giving voters the power to decide.
“Let’s put it before the vote of the people,” he said. “If the public doesn’t want it, let them be the ones to decide.”
Officials said the $2 million debt would require a 13-cent increase in property taxes, which would raise the current levy from 88.5 cents to $1.01 1/2 per $100 of assessed valuation. For the owner of a home with a market value of $100,000, the 13-cent levy increase would push his or her annual city tax bill by $24.70 from $168.15 to $192.85.
City Administrator Steve Lawver said the median value of homes in the community is $120,000; the bond issue would cost the owner of such a home an additional $29.64 per year in city taxes.
At a Jan. 7 meeting, city officials tabled a $3.5 million proposal, citing costs. On Tuesday night, the board initially discussed the possibility of spending about $2 million to repair existing ball fields and park property, then also tabled that plan.
A new plan was drafted and presented during Friday’s meeting.
City Administrator Steve Lawver said the $2 million would cover “anything you can think of” in connection to building new ball fields, including fencing and concession stands.