St. Clair, Mo.

Voters within the St. Clair city limits will decide in April whether the collector position will continue to be elected or change to being appointed.

The board of aldermen unanimously agreed in December to place the issue on the April 8 municipal election ballot after a personnel committee — led by Ward 1 Alderman Nathan Tate — made the recommendation.

The city collector, who currently is Tiffany Burton, is responsible for the billings and collections of all the service debts owed to the municipality, including water, sewer and refuse billings, business licenses and animal registration tags.

However, Tate said over the years, the responsibilities in the position have lessened.

“Nearly half of the collector’s job now is done by the county,” he said. “If we change the position to being appointed, the administration would be more in control of the salary.”

The city collector will make $40,726.40 in 2014, according to the budget the aldermen approved last month. Pay currently is determined through ordinance.

Tate has said that if the job changes to being an appointed one, the salary could be lowered to save the city money.

Tate said he and personnel committee members Barb McGlenn, Stephanie Smith and Danny Shadrick visited with individuals throughout the community about the position.

“By a large majority, the people we talked to thought the position should be appointed,” Tate said during the aldermen’s Dec. 16 meeting. “So, we thought we should put it on the ballot for the voters to decide.”

The ballot question would ask: “Shall the position of collector for the city of St. Clair, Missouri, become an appointed position at the expiration of the current term of office?”

Voters simply will check “yes” or “no.”

If voters approve the change, it will not take effect until April 2016. That’s when the four-year term of former collector Lynne Huff will expire. Huff was elected to a sixth term in April 2012 but retired early this year after a 20-year career. Burton was appointed to replace her.

Burton has filed to serve the remaining two years of the term. So far, she has no opposition in the April election, but the filing period doesn’t close until Jan. 21.

Burton originally was hired in March as an accounts clerk. In August, she then was promoted to city collector.

According to the ordinance, Missouri state statute allows a municipality to decide whether the collector position is elected or appointed through a ballot issue.