Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

2nd Sales Tax Rejection Perplexes Mayor

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

2nd Sales Tax Rejection Perplexes Mayor

Article excerpt

Mayor James Hofman of Weldon Spring was trying to understand late Tuesday why voters had just rejected a tax that would have brought about $100,000 annually into town.

Turnout was light - only about 27 percent of Weldon Spring's 1,700 registered voters went to the polls. But of the 466 votes cast, 265 opposed to the proposal to allow a one-cent sales tax.

Although city officials had not announced how they would have spent the money, discussions at aldermanic meetings indicated it could have gone to provide police protection, build parks or a city hall, or put in sewers for residents now on septic tanks.

"This is the second time in four or five months that voters have turned it down. The last time it lost by 10 votes, this time by a greater margin - so it's obvious they don't want to pay the penny," said Hofman. "However, they'll go to shop at Mid-Rivers Mall where they'll pay a two-cent tax."

Hofman said the city "will do what government should - tighten our belt and do the best job we can."

"We'll cut a little here, a little there to keep the government in operation, and we can survive," he said. "But we have no tax of our own, and my concern is that opposition to the one-cent may have been misplaced."

Hofman said he "hated to think" that the aldermen's recent decision on the Condie property would have caused the sales tax to fail. The board rezoned the 221-acre property from three-acre lots to one-acre lots, a move that angered many area residents.

"The growth out here is inevitable, and now we've lost another chance," he said. "If the city doesn't get into buying ground, there wouldn't be any room left to build a park."

Earlier in the day, a sampling of about 30 voters at Weldon Spring's two polling places indicated a majority favored the tax.

Michael McGuire of Hemmingway Drive said, "As residents, we deserve the things it could provide."

Kerry McDonough of Malinmar Drive, who moved to Weldon Spring from St. Louis County just over two months ago, said he "was perplexed that the town has no park or other recreation areas, not so much as a softball diamond."

He was also "disturbed that Weldon Spring has no post office and no scheduled police patrols. …

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