Sales tax increase continues, commission writes first CARES check

Gainesville R-V School superintendent Justin Gilmore, center, picked up a $161,265.31 check for the school from Ozark County Presiding Commissioner John Turner, left, and Eastern District Commissioner Gary Collins, right, Monday, July 13. The money came out of the $1,076,293 the county received in federal funds distributed through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was passed by Congress on March 27. The school submitted a request that was approved in June, itemizing how the district would use the funds. This portion of the approximately $211,000 requested by the school was used for cleaning and sanitizing supplies, including two Trident Scrub Ride floor cleaners, sanitizer, soap, towels, disinfectant wipes, etc. The school is also ordering Chromebooks, hands-free faucets and water fountains used to fill water bottles, all of which will be reimbursed out of the county’s CARES fund. “The Gainesville R-V District is very thankful that our county commissioners have been so supportive of the school utilizing these funds to help provide a healthier environment for our students and staff,” Gilmore said. “The funding is very beneficial, especially considering schools have been taking huge budget cuts due to revenue shortfalls. . . . I appreciate the help and support I received from Johnnie Turner, Greg Donley, Gary Collins and Brian Wise throughout this process.” Times photo / Norene Prososki.

The Ozark County Commissioners, at their Monday morning meeting, discussed this year’s sales tax revenue amid the challenges of the current COVID-19 pandemic and were pleased to see that the “silver lining” of increased sales tax revenue is continuing after first being announced in April. Sales tax revenue for the county’s general fund is up 17.42 percent over this time last year, they said.

Presiding Commissioner John Turner told the Times Monday afternoon he continues to believe the increased sales tax revenue is due to “people doing more shopping locally” rather than driving to larger towns and bigger stores in nearby communities. “We do appreciate people spending their money locally instead of going to West Plains or Mountain Home,” Turner said. “It’s keeping the sales tax in Ozark County, so it’s good for the county.”

He also said he believes summer tourism is helping boost sales tax revenue. “I think if you’re in St. Louis or Kansas City or some other place, and you usually get on a jet to fly to Florida or out west, now you’re not wanting to go those great distances. And instead they’re driving down to the lakes and rivers,” he said.

The commissioners on Monday also presented the first dispersal from the approximately $1.1 million the county has received as part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Several proposals have come into the commissioners from Ozark County schools, county departments and other entities, but the Gainesville school district was the first to complete a part of its proposal so that it was ready for funding. The commissioners presented Gainesville superintendent Justin Gilmore with a check for $161,265; the district’s total proposal is expected to be $211,000 when details are completed.   

Ozark County Times

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