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The City of Rolla Doing What It Does Best

Flush Money Cartoon

About This Cartoon

In August 2014, the Rolla City Council with the encouragement of the City Administrator and the Mayor voted 11 to 0 (one council member was absent) to place a parks and recreation tax on the November ballot pursuant to Missouri State Statute 644.032. None of the 11 council members, nor the mayor, city administrator, or city counselor read this one page statute carefully enough to note that it required a 12 month waiting period since the last previous use. (A similar tax proposition failed in April 2014 by 4 percentage points) The city discovered the error at the last minute and got a court order suppressing the count on that ballot issue; but still had to pay $18,107.92 in election costs.

Tom Sager, a private citizen and Rolla taxpayer, had requested in open council meeting that the city wait until April 2015 to place Prop. P on the ballot citing among other things, the expense of putting a proposition on the November ballot and the short time since the failure of the last tax proposition. He also noted the existence of funds from which the city receives little or no benefit that could be transfered to Parks and Recreation. One council member remarked, "Tom, you have a fundamental misunderstanding of ballot language." Another quipped facetiously, "Tom's always right, never wrong, let's move on." (August 4, 2014 Rolla City Council meeting 1:39 - 1:48)

The city then placed the parks and recreation tax on the April 2015 ballot where it passed with flying colors at a tiny fraction of the cost.