Local voters say yes to public safety sales taxes

Lee Ann Murphy
Community Editor

Area voters approved not one but two half-cent sales tax measures on Tuesday's ballot, one for the City of Neosho and the other for Newton County.

The half-cent tax for Neosho will go to fund the police and fire departments, allowing for the possible hiring of new staff members and purchases of needed equipment. Staff numbers have been down and not at desired level for both departments since 2010. The sales tax will also fund a capital improvement fund.

The vote count was 1,342 in favor and 626 against, an approval of 68.19%.

Newton County residents also voted in favor of another half-cent sales tax, this one to fund services that include emergency calls dispatch and other emergency services.

Unofficial final vote count was 4,501 to 2,422, passing the tax with 65% approval.

Almost half of that money will go toward funding the Newton County Central Dispatch Center. The county in response will also eliminate a tax paid by land-line telephone customers and waive fees that cities in Newton County pay for dispatch services. The other half will be split between the sheriff's department and three Newton County cities.

With the approval of both measures, sales tax rates within the city of Neosho will increase by a cent.