Kirkwood voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved Prop 1, the continuation of the city's half-cent sales tax for capital expenditures. Votes totaled 7,687 (77.33 percent) in favor and 2,253 (22.67) against.
The city did a good job presenting the case for keeping the tax, and voters did a good job weighing their options, said Mayor Tim Griffin after the results were posted.
"I think they see it. It's been there 20 years, and we've done some good things with the money, and I think the people see that it would be a real detriment not to have it any more," he added. "They're very informed."
The tax was first approved in 1994 with a 10-year sunset clause. It was re-authorized in 2004 for 15 years. This time it has been approved permanently.
Proceeds from the tax have increased through the years, as the retail economy in Kirkwood has expanded. Currently it generates about $2.2 million a year, according to the city's financial records.
City officials made the point that Kirkwood taxpayers are relieved of part of the burden of paying the tax by out-of-town shoppers and visitors. And the proceeds of the tax are multiplied by using them as matching money for subsidized federal projects. Typically, such projects are funded on an 80-20 federal-to-local basis.
"Even people who didn't like some of it – like the absence of the sunset clause – I think recognized the value of it," Griffin said, referring to comments made at a March 23 public hearing on the proposition. "Kirkwood people – they know what's going on … I've felt good about it all along."