The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 31, 2011

Mike Pence, guest columnist: The path forward

y Mike Pence
Special to The Globe

JOPLIN, MO — Our path forward as a community has never been more imposing than it is today. However, the horrific May 22 tornado has clearly served to bond us together as a community more tightly than ever before.

It also prepares us for the challenging rebuilding opportunities we now face.

Our next major community rebuilding and expansion opportunity will present itself in two days. On Tuesday, Joplin voters will have the chance to continue the quarter-cent sales tax used exclusively to fund much-needed public park and stormwater infrastructure enhancement projects.

On Nov. 6, 2001, Joplin voters gave the city the green light to begin collecting such a tax after a diverse citizens’ committee came up with a comprehensive list of the most desirable projects.

This taxing authority was granted for 10 years and is due to expire in March 2012. We can now look proudly back over the past 10 years and clearly see that the $28.2 million collected was prudently used by the city. It is vitally important that we keep this tax in place for the next 10 years.

With that goal in mind, another citizens’ committee was formed last winter to garner public input and prepare a new projects list. If you would like to see that list, you may go to the city’s website at and click on Parks & Storm Water information and then select Master Plan 2012. Here you will see parks projects totaling $12.9 million and stormwater projects totaling $18.5 million.

You may also see the master plan at the Joplin Public Library.

Remember, this is not a new or increased tax. Your “yes” vote will ensure that our present one-quarter cent sales tax for parks and storm water improvements remains unchanged for the next 10 years. I have studied this opportunity and firmly believe that our path forward, especially now, will be made easier if we vote “yes” on Tuesday to continue this tax.

Please join me on the path forward with your “yes” vote for our parks and stormwater sales tax renewal.

It’s the right thing to do at the right time. Let’s “git ’er done.”

Mike Pence lives in Joplin. He is the retired former owner of Electric Motor Supply, and currently is on the board of Joplin Tomorrow.