Slates set for April 7 election, internet sales tax issue added
Ozark County residents will be asked to vote on an internet use tax issue (which functions the same as a sales tax) when they go to the polls for the April 7 general municipal election. Voters will also choose which candidates will fill openings on the Dora, Gainesville and Thornfield school boards.
Terms are also coming open on the Bakersfield and Lutie school boards, the Bakersfield and Gainesville village boards, the Ozark County Ambulance District and Ozark County Health Department boards, and the board overseeing Public Water Supply District #1 in Theodosia. However, the number of vacancies on those boards equals the number of candidates who have filed for those seats, and state law says elections do not have to be held in those cases.
In Theodosia, three terms are ending on the village board, and only one incumbent has filed for re-election. As a result, the board will appoint two residents to fill the remaining two seats, village clerk Shari Schaper said Monday.
Ozark Countians who are not yet registered to have until Wednesday, March 11, to register to vote in the April 7 election. Absentee voting opens Tuesday, Feb. 25. For more information, contact the Ozark County Clerk’s office at 679-3516.
Tax issue on the ballot
At their weekly meeting Monday, the Ozark County Commissioners voted to place on the April 7 ballot a use tax on internet sales. Approving the measure would allow the county to collect on internet sales the same 2 percent sales tax it now collects on purchases made at brick-and-mortar businesses in Ozark County.
Ozark County Clerk Brian Wise said Tuesday he hadn’t had time to research what kind of majority would be needed to pass the measure.
Commissioners noted that 1 percent of the county’s sales tax goes to the general revenue fund, .5 percent goes to the Ozark County Sheriff’s Department and .5 percent goes to the county’s Road and Bridge Fund. An additional .5 percent sales tax collected by the Ozark County Ambulance District on local purchases would not be included in the online use tax, they said.
“I think one of the reasons our county is doing so good is how good people have been to vote for these sales taxes when we need them,” said Western Commissioner Greg Donley, who added that this would likely be the last additional tax to be put on a ballot for years to come.
Collection of the tax would be handled by the Missouri Department of Revenue, which would then remit the funds to Ozark County. If the measure passes, the tax would be collected starting in July, and Ozark County would start receiving funds in October.
While the commissioners said they have no way of estimating how much revenue the tax would bring in, they pointed to Howell County, which has already passed an online use tax and has seen a significant increase in revenue. Although many factors affect the county’s revenue, including such things as business lost due to the 2017 flooding, the commissioners have long suspected that the increasing popularity of online shopping has hurt the county’s bottom line.
“This is the future,” said Donley, referring to internet shopping. “That’s the way the world is going, and we aren’t going to change it.”
The Dora, Gainesville and Thornfield school districts will hold an election to fill seats on their boards on April 7. The Bakersfield and Lutie districts will not, because the numbers of seats coming open on their boards equals the number of candidates. Here are the particulars:
• Bakersfield: Three three-year positions and one two-year position are coming open. The three-year terms of Matthew Evans, Mike Scott and Tim Watlington are expiring, and all three incumbents have filed for re-election. Kyle Clayton has filed for the two-year position to fill the seat currently held by Johnathan Belt, who can no longer serve due to a change in employment. Because the number of candidates equals the number of terms expiring, no election will be held. Board members whose terms are not expiring are Bruce Bales, Johnathan Lashley and Chris Bales.
• Dora: Three three-year positions are coming open, those held by Ed Lee, Cass Martin and Lindsey Collins. Four candidates have filed, so an election will be held. Incumbents Collins and Martin have filed for re-election; Jerry Moritz and Mindy Trail have also filed. Board members whose positions are not expiring are Robert Lee, Tim Masters, Lynda Smith and Terry Martin.
Gainesville: Three three-year positions are coming open, those held by Jerry Kiger, Corey Hillhouse and Marti Warden. Four candidates have filed, so an election will be held. All three incumbents have filed for re-election; Douglas Hawkins has also filed. Board members whose terms are not expiring are Jabet Wade, Mason Eslinger, Heather Bushner and Robbie Walrath.
Lutie: Three three-year positions are coming open, those held by Chuck Myers, Julie Vaught and Bill Conklin. Three candidates have filed: Matthew Shockey, Robert Edwards and Luther Hampton. No election will be held. Board members whose positions are not expiring are Ric Engelhardt, Jennifer Garrison, Carl Kruger and Suzanne Meeks.
• Thornfield: Three three-year positions are coming open, those currently held by Terry Ewing, Donnie Cunningham and Travis Tucker. Five candidates have filed, so, for the first time in several years, the district will hold an election, something that hasn’t been necessary for a long time because the number of candidates has equaled the number of board openings. All three incumbents have filed for re-election, and Renee Graham and William “Mitch” Cook have also filed. Other board members whose positions are not expiring are Darrin Clayton, Greg Prock, Daniel Collins and Shane Funk.
None of Ozark County’s villages and public boards will hold elections for board positions. In Bakersfield and Gainesville, the number of expiring terms on the village boards equals the number of candidates who have filed. In Theodosia, three seats are coming open, and only one candidate has filed; that board will appoint two residents to fill the empty positions.
• City of Bakersfield: Three two-year terms on the city council are expiring, positions currently held by Tony Johnson, Jodi Burns and Stephanie Guffey. Johnson and Guffey have filed for re-election, and Kevin Sewell has also filed. Johnson currently serves as mayor, a position determined by the board; the trustees will determine who serves as Bakersfield’s next mayor at their April meeting. Other council members whose terms are not expiring are Erin Bonham (currently the mayor protem) and Dianna Stover.
• City of Gainesville: The position of mayor, currently held by Gail Reich, and three two-year city council terms are coming open, those held by West Ward alderman Rocky Sullivan, Center Ward alderman Lee Bowen and East Ward alderman Lana Bushong. All incumbents have filed for re-election. Council members whose positions are not expiring are West Ward alderman Shane Ledbetter, Center Ward alderman Treva Warrick and East Ward alderman Dana Crisp.
• Theodosia Village: Three two-year positions are coming open on the Theodosia Board of Trustees, the seats currently held by Randal Unruh, Jerry Smith and Mike Allen. Only Smith has filed. Board members whose positions are not expiring are Bret Cook and Paul Dettinger. The board will appoint two residents to fill the expiring terms.
Public Water Supply District #1: Two three-year positions are expiring, those held by Mike Cronce and Dale Cutbirth. Both candidates filed for re-election, and no other candidates filed. Other board members are Ric Engelhardt (board president), Connie Johns and Suzanne Meeks.
Ozark County Ambulance Board: Two three-year positions are expiring, those held by Douglas Hawkins, representing District 5, and Linda Dunsmuir, representing District 2. Both filed for re-election, and no other candidates filed. Board members whose positions are not expiring are Jerri Crawford, representing District 1; Craig Fox, District 3; Greg Zubrod, District 4; and Elaine Burnett, District 6.
Ozark County Health Department Board: Three four-year positions are expiring, those held by Joyce Morgan, Lyndell Strong and John Steffenson. All incumbents filed for re-election, and no other candidates filed. Other board members are Sue Orf and Bill Cockrum.