NEOSHO, Mo. —
On Tuesday’s ballot in Newton County is a proposal for a new 6-cent property tax levy to support Crowder Industries Inc., a sheltered workshop in Neosho that employs people with developmental disabilities.
A simple majority vote is required for approval.
Crowder Industries is located at 3707 Howard Bush Drive.
Mike Franks, volunteer campaign manager, said the 6-cent levy will raise around $360,000 annually.
If approved, it would add $11.40 to the annual tax bill of the owner of a house with an appraised value of $100,000. The owner of a $30,000 car would pay an additional $5.94 annually in personal property taxes.
Franks said Crowder Industries started in 1969, one of 91 sheltered workshops in the state. He said 88 of them are partly supported by a local levy, most of them 10 cents or higher.
“The situation at Crowder Industries is the past few years, state aid has stagnated,” Franks said. He said the state allocation has not increased, and there have been withholdings each of the past three years, resulting in the workshop not receiving its full allocation.
Franks said Crowder Industries also has lost some of the companies for which it contracts, resulting in lost revenue.
“They don’t need a bailout,” Franks said. “They need a little assistance.”
Around 100 of the Crowder Industries employees have developmental disabilities, while another 30 without disabilities are in supervisory and management positions. The workers do packing and assembly work as a subcontractor for area industries including La-Z-Boy.
“For 44 years, Crowder Industries has been able to support itself,” Franks said. “I think it’s the best investment we can make.”
Franks said the campaign theme is “work matters.” He said the work is valuable and rewarding to the employees. He said their time at Crowder Industries is usually the high point of their day.
“They’re paid a wage,” he said. “They’re earning a good portion of what it takes them to live. It’s meaningful work.
“This is not welfare,” he continued. “This is real work.”
Franks said if voters approve the levy, the Newton County Commission must establish a committee that will determine how the money is allocated.
THE PROPOSAL has been endorsed by the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce.