The Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has voted to endorse a proposed tax levy, intended to benefit Crowder Industries.

The proposed six cent levy per $100 assessed property valuation will be on the ballot Nov. 5 for Newton County voters.

Mike Franks, a volunteer with Crowder Industries, said the tax levy is needed to ensure the future of the workshop, which provides jobs to more than 100 developmentally disabled employees.

"We've lost too many local industries to foreign competition and the state has cut back on their funding so we need a little bit of local funding here to make sure that we can supplement the amount of work they do so that we can be viable for the long-term at this point," Franks said.

He said the employees of Crowder Industries perform a variety of jobs, including several sub assemblies for various manufacturers, and making cartons that are used by industries in Newton and McDonald Counties.

The Chamber's board of directors voted Thursday, Oct. 17 to lend their support to the ballot initiative.

Shana Griffin, the chamber's executive director, said the Chamber's Board of Directors saw a presentation from the Crowder Industries committee in Thursday's meeting and got on overview on what the levy will mean.

"Our board felt this is really good to endorse this levy because of what good it will do for Newton County and for Crowder Industries," Griffin said.

Griffin said with the number of jobs that Crowder Industries provides, the levy is seen as beneficial to the company as well as to the community.

"We want Crowder Industries to continue on because they are a workforce here in Neosho," Griffin said. "They do a lot for the community and it's great for economic development to keep their business going, because they do a lot of support and business for other industries in the area."

Franks said the proposed levy equates to an annual cost of 22-cents per week for a homeowner whose house is appraised at $100,000 value.

He said if the levy is not approved by voters that could mean cuts at Crowder Industries in the future.

"There'll be some major cuts out there and the longtime viability of the workshop will be in question," Franks said.

He said of the 91 workshops in Missouri, 88 have levies, and noted that if approved the Newton County levy would be among the lowest of the workshop levies in the state.

Franks said if the levy is approved, voters will be helping the developmentally disabled in Newton County to have their own source of income, however, he said for many, the job is much more than that.

"These people not only love coming to work everyday," Franks said. "They're quite frankly the most focused workforce I've ever seen in my life. It's not a job to them, this is the best part of their day. It brings meaning to much of their day. They're as eager to get there and do it as anything you can possibly imagine."

Franks said several other endorsements are expected, and said La-Z-Boy and K&S Wire have already lent their support for the levy as well.