636V0684 4x5 @ 72 Res

In 1974 the city passed a general sales tax.  The ballot language was as follows:

“Shall the sales tax ordinance be approved?

Ordinance No. 760 of the City of Blue Springs, Missouri, passed September 19, 1974, imposing a city sales tax at the rate of one percent (1%) on the receipts from the sale at retail of all tangible personal property or taxable services at retail if such property and services are subject to the sales tax imposed by the State of Missouri, for a period of five (5) years.”

In 1979 the ballot language for renewal was as follows:

“Shall the City’s 1% sales tax be retained?”

Both ballot measures were approved.  Over the years the city has added and removed many services that are/were paid for by the 1% general sales tax.  But as you can see, there is no dedicated tax for ambulance service in Blue Springs and there never has been.

Councilman Ron Fowler’s motion at a recent council meeting did not adequately define what amount he would remove from the general sales tax that currently only provides a partial subsidy for the ambulance service in Blue Springs.  His motion also did not make a persuasive case for adjusting the sales tax because the tax is not dedicated to the purpose we were discussing and changes in revenue distribution occur every year within our general budget.  As the needs of the city change the Council must have the flexibility to adjust funding to meet those needs.

For many years the City of Blue Springs has held the ambulance license for the entire area that is covered by Central Jackson County Fire Protection District (CJC), including areas outside the city limits.  We contract ambulance service to CJC and subsidize the service.  Until recently the city collected the fees billed to the users of the ambulance and our taxpayers subsidized any short fall out of our general fund.  There is no dedicated funding source for ambulance service.  In addition, when we subsidize this service we are doing it for areas of unincorporated Jackson County, Grain Valley, and Lake Tapawingo at no direct cost to them.  The City of Blue Springs is the only entity responsible for the subsidy.

Blue Springs has agreed to transfer the ambulance license to CJC and the issue on the ballot is how CJC is proposing to eliminate the Blue Springs subsidy.  When we transferred the license to CJC recently we also transferred the user payments to them as well.  The end result will be all of us in the CJC district will contribute directly to the service we receive including the County, Grain Valley, and Lake Tapawingo residents.  This allows money that currently subsidizes the ambulance service to be redirected to meeting needs in the Blue Springs community.

If the issue fails to pass, the license will transfer back to Blue Springs along with the fee revenue.  Things would then return to as they were before we transferred the license to CJC.   If this happens, the city will have to look at alternatives, but our options are not set in stone.  We believe the CJC provides the best service in the area and the best way to continue to receive that level of service is for it to be fully under their control.

Finally Blue Springs at 2% continues to have one of the lowest city sales tax rates in the metropolitan area. In recent years the City has also fixed our sales tax leakage problems by encouraging new retail developments in our city. Because of this, some of our sales tax revenue is paid by shoppers from outside our city. It is great to have these low tax rates and to be able to continue to provide quality services to our citizens!

I would encourage you to support CJC’s ballot issue in August and share this information with your friends. Thank you for the opportunity to be of service!

Jeff Quibell
District 1 Councilman
City of Blue Springs