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County Commission Communications
A Periodic Column Written by Ed Douglas, Presiding Commissioner

APRIL 14, 2017

Thank You to Livingston County Supporters, Voters... I would like to thank the many people who helped make our "A Step Forward for Livingston County" campaign successful. Unfortunately, there are too many people to mention by name. Many people contributed by providing valuable advice as to how to run a campaign, and in contributing the necessary funds needed. We also had very positive input from the groups and individuals we visited with in the discussions on our proposal. Important endorsements were provided by the City of Chillicothe and the Chillicothe Development Corporation. A number of people wrote letters to the editor that appeared in the Constitution-Tribune and wrote positive comments on social media. I hope to personally thank many of these supporters in person over the next few weeks. I would like to mention by name our co- chairpersons - our current Commissioners, Western District Comm issioner Dave Mapel and Eastern District Commissioner Alvin Thompson - and our three retired Commissioners, former Eastern District Commissioner Ken Lauhoff, former Western District Commissioner Todd Rodenberg, and former Presiding Commissioner Eva Danner-Horton. These five individuals worked extremely hard to make our effort successful. And it is particularly noteworthy that our retired Commissioners agreed to co- chair the campaign after their terms were served. Finally, I would like to thank the people of Livingston County for their support, vote and confidence in us. Every group we talked to listened and asked good questions and at the end of our discussion understood the reasons for our need and pledged their support for the issue. Livingston County is a very progressive county, and it is a pleasure to serve the people and businesses in it. We pledge to you to make good use of the funding provided to benefit our county as spelled out in the campaign. On behalf of our County Commission thank you again Livingston County for your support!

MARCH 29, 2017
Over the course of the last year, our past and current County Commission has prepared for the election this April 4th. This preparation has included a study of Livingston County's long- term needs as well as comparison studies of the revenue and expenses of other counties in the State of Missouri. Additionally, in the last six months, we have held nearly 50 public meetings with as many clubs and organizations as we could, including the Chamber of Commerce and the Chillicothe Development Corporation's CEO Round Table, all four wards in Chillicothe, and all 13 townships in Livingston County. We have tried to be factual, consistent, and open and honest with the long- term needs of the County and how they should best be met.

I am very appreciative of the help of our current commissioners, East District Commissioner Alvin Thompson and West District Commissioner Dave Mapel, as well as the support of all our elected officials and staff. I am especially appreciative of the help given by our three retired commissioners who have co-chaired the effort with us - retired Presiding Commissioner Eva Danner Horton, retired East District Commissioner Ken Lauhoff, and retired West District Commissioner Todd Rodenberg. These three have 48 years combined years of service and had already put in their time and service to Livingston County but because of the importance of this issue, they choose to give their full effort, time, and support to this cause. I would also like to thank the City of Chillicothe and the City Council for unanimously approving a resolution in support of our sales tax.

In summary, our county is asking for a 1/2 cent sales tax increase on top of our current 3/4 of 1%. This would make our sales tax 1 1/4% which would be then equal to the lowest of the six counties that connect to our county. The sales tax rates in those counties are Caldwell 2.50%, Linn 2.00%, Daviess 2.00%, Chariton 1.875%, Grundy 1.50% and Carroll 1.25%. (It should also be noted that Livingston County has a very small real estate tax; and these surrounding counties all have a significantly higher real estate tax rate than Livingston County.)

With the proposed additional funds requested from the sales tax increase, our county will be able to keep up with increasing prisoner/jail expense, significantly improve county roads in partnership with townships, and work with the city to improve roads of mutual interest (like Litton Road). Furthermore, these additional funds will allow us (in partnership with the city of Chillicothe) to maintain a high quality 9-1-1 Emergency Service, preserve our facilities (court house, sheriff's office, and the road and bridge barn) and over time build an adequate reserve fund commensurate with other counties to handle emergencies. It should be noted at the end of this year's county budget, Livingston County's operating balances were approximately $35,000 which is woefully inadequate, especially when compared to some of these same surrounding counties that have several million dollars or more in operating reserves. Data shows that 44% of the revenue for the sales tax will come from people outside our county. Data also shows that the 1/2 cent sales tax increase would cost the average family in Livingston County approximately $8.75 per month.

Both our current and past commission did not take lightly putting forth a sales tax increase. In our judgment, as your elected officials, the needs of our county can not be met with current revenue or further expense reductions, which therefore, required this sales tax increase proposal. Thank you in advance for your consideration of this issue and thanks also to all the people who have helped us and listened to our message.

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