A half-cent sales tax increase approved by Joplin voters in November to snug up police and fire pensions will be collected by local retailers starting Wednesday.

Residents of Joplin also will see an increase in their sewer and trash bills.

The city of Joplin should be getting the first payments from the new sales tax in June, said Leslie Haase, the city's finance director.

While shoppers pay the taxes upon purchase, stores send all tax proceeds to the state of Missouri. There is a time lag between collection and receipt because the state then disburses the collections to the cities, counties and other taxing districts.

The tax is expected to generate about $6 million a year to fully fund the Police and Firemen's Pension Fund so that it can be closed out when all existing beneficiaries have received their payments.

Under the tax proposal, collection of it is to expire in 12 years or as soon as the funded level of the pension plan reaches 120%.

Public safety workers hired in 2009 or later can move to a statewide retirement fund, and the sales tax also will cover the transfer expenses for those workers.

The city will be able to use about $3 million from the general fund that had been paid into the pension toward the cost of other city services, officials said when Proposition B was being planned.

The City Council assigned a committee of residents to oversee the sales tax. It will report amounts collected and the total amounts the tax makes available for the pension funding.

Joplin residents will see their monthly sewer bills go up about $2 next month as part of a five-year rate plan approved recently.

Under that plan, rates will go up 5% a year, or a cumulative 25%, through 2024, totaling a rise by the end of the cycle of about $12 a month. Costs to industrial users will be much steeper.

The increases are based on costs the city is expected to incur to maintain and update the collection system and two wastewater treatment plants. One of the plants is undergoing costly upgrades in order to comply with a consent order that regulates discharges.

New sewer customers will start out with lower bills than in the past. The city late last year reduced the number of gallons of water that are used to assess the new bills, which will make the average new bill $41.82. Those had been about $43.98, Haase said.

A slight increase also for trash service and curbside recycling also will start on April bills.

The 2% increase will increase trash bills without recycling service from $12.18 to 12.40 per month. The charge to pick up curbside recycling will go up from $4.85 to $4.95, Haase said.

Sales tax hike

The half-cent increase in the city sales tax that Joplin voters approved in November will push the municipal rate from 2.625 cents to 3.125 cents beginning April 1. The increase generally will make the total sales tax rate 8.575 cents in the Jasper County portion of the city and 8.475 cents in the Newton County portion. But in special taxing districts, such as that for Northpark Mall, the totals are slightly higher.