Council to appoint committee for the use of fiscal oversight | Local News


Discussions on the implementation of the usage tax approved in last Tuesday’s election will take place on Monday at a special meeting and working session of Joplin City Council.

The special meeting will meet at 6 p.m. for the council to formally rule on the outcome of the vote. There were 1,705 votes in favor of imposing the tax on online sales and 1,611 against. It was written on the ballot as “Proposal action”.

Collection of the 3.125% tax on out-of-state online sales will begin April 1, 2022. The tax must be charged by sellers on purchases where no sales tax can be charged. City officials have estimated, based on state figures, that the tax could produce $ 3.8 million for city use.

When the special meeting is adjourned, a working session will be convened to include a discussion on the implementation of action plans for projects to be carried out with user tax funding. City staff have compiled a list of these priority projects for review.

Topping the list is reducing vacant and unsafe buildings as well as restarting neighborhood improvement areas as part of work to address declining neighborhoods. There are about 20 initiatives classified between the first and second priority; many of them targeted declining neighborhoods and housing.

Some plans, such as interviews with representatives of organizations that provide services to the homeless, the status of smart city projects and other topics of action plans also occupy high places in the rankings.

Several projects of the action plan were already underway by municipal staff before the election, especially those that could be carried out free of charge or at low cost. Some were in the planning stages of implementation, City Manager Nick Edwards previously said.

The council will also be asked to appoint a resident implementation committee to oversee the initiation of action plans and the spending of user tax revenues. This committee would be made up of residents who have served on the Joplin Citizens Use Tax Committee. They worked to provide information to community groups on the usage tax proposal.

Committee co-chair Rob O’Brian, who is a past president of the Joplin area chamber of commerce, suggested the group. He said some residents have said they would like to have follow-up reports on how the money is being spent.

In other cases, a study on the availability of broadband Internet service to the community will be detailed. The study was commissioned from Finley Engineering and CCG Consulting of Lamar.

City staff began in 2018 to consider whether the city should pursue smart city technologies and programs. The goal discussed was to provide more economic resilience and community development. Part of this would involve technological upgrades and greater availability of Internet or wireless service.

One of the things the consultant did to assess the gaps in Internet use and service was to survey residents to see how many thought they had adequate Internet service. The survey also looked at how many providers there are here and what the cost or affordability is for residents relative to the domestic market.

The study reports that Joplin has a broadband adoption gap. The percentage of households with broadband service is 71%, which, according to the Finley report, “is significantly lower than the national average broadband penetration rate of 87%. because they couldn’t afford a monthly broadband subscription or a computer. “

Joplin lacks broadband competition with few providers, the study concludes.

Many residents encountered problems with internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic as some were working from home and while children were attending classes or doing homework over the internet because they could not go to school .

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