Iron County Tax Levy Increase Going to the Voters

At a special commissioners’ meeting, held on Tuesday, Jan. 26, the Iron County Commission unanimously voted to place a tax levy increase on the April Municipal Election ballot. The increase is expected to help the county’s road and bridge department increase their yearly funding.

If passed by Iron County voters, the revenue collected would start with the 2021 tax year. “The revenue wouldn’t be collected until 2022,” said Iron County Presiding Commissioner Jim Scaggs. “We wouldn’t see any new revenue this year from it, the revenue stream would come in 2022, if the voters decide to pass the tax.”

“We held the special meeting so the county commission could take a look at the at the tax levy for the road and bridge department,” said Scaggs. “The road and bridge department revenues continue to drop, and we’re below $1,000,000 in revenue for this year.”

“The purpose of the meeting was to look at what we could do from a levee perspective to shore up the road and bridge department,” he said. “So, we contacted the Missouri Association of Counties, and spoke with our attorney. They drafted an order for us to look at.”

According to the order, the tax levee would increase by 22 cents roughly to the fifty cent levy cap. “It would be 50 cents on $100 of assessed value,” said Scaggs. “So, that would generate about close to around $360,000 for the road bridge department, each year.”

“This year’s upcoming budget in 2021, we don’t have any money for bridges, we don’t have any money for new asphalt construction, and we barely have enough money to keep going as it is,” he said.

Scaggs mentioned that the commission wanted to improve county infrastructure, and not move backwards. “So that’s the step that the commission took, and voted to put the issue on the April 6 ballot,” he said. “Let the voters decide if they want to have a tax increase in the levee for road and bridge purposes only.”

Scaggs said that the budget this year for the road and bridge department is around $1.1 million. He said that revenue appears to be around $975,000, which would mean that there would be a deficit of about $174,000.

“If this doesn’t pass, I don’t see hardly any new construction improvements going on bridges and new asphalt,” said Scaggs. “As a matter of fact, we may lose some current asphalt roads that we have because we don’t have the money to overlay them with new asphalt, so we would be going backwards in county road maintenance, if we don’t do something to shore up the revenue.”

With the Doe Run tax protest, Iron County is losing about $80,000 a year in revenue, according to Scaggs. “That’s one thing, but if the Mine Royalties bills were to pass, it would be a big plus for the road and bridge department, and the levy would probably be rolled back,” he said.

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