The capital improvement sales tax committee can now accept donations.
The committee had several donations to support its efforts, but was unsure how to handle the cash. Committee member Jennifer Giesike said it was decided the best course of action would be to form an official committee with the Missouri Ethics Commission.
The new committee is called Citizens for Local Progress. Giesike is the treasurer.
Giesike said the committee received $500 from the Washington Little League, $500 from the American Legion and $100 from Tim Brinker. Those donations, combined with the $10,000 pledge from the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce, give the committee $11,100 to spend on the campaign.
City Administrator Darren Lamb said he was hoping to secure $5,000 more from other civic groups.
The money will be used for advertisements, mailers and other campaign items as the committee attempts to promote a renewal of the half-cent capital improvement sales tax.
In the April 3 municipal election, Washington voters will be presented with an eight-year extension of the city’s half-cent capital improvement sales tax. The tax has been in place since the early 1990s and been used to fund major projects like fire stations, the police station and the Washington Public Library.
The sales tax committee has been meeting since October in an attempt to determine what projects should be done if voters approve the tax. The committee compiled a list of potential projects that could be funded with proceeds from the tax.
The list contains allocations for a replacement for the city pool, a new fire station on the eastern side of town, infrastructure for a new industrial park, communications upgrades for the city’s public safety officers and more. The committee estimated more than $16.3 million could be spent to fund, at least partially, 32 separate projects.
The tax is expected to generate about $2.2 million annually.
The committee is gearing up to make its pitch to voters in Washington. Several members will embark on a speaking tour to Washington-based groups. Other members will speak on KLPW to promote the tax.
The renewal campaign has a slogan — Local Funds, Local Control, Local Success.
The committee has been meeting weekly to prepare to make its pitch to voters. In addition to speaking, the group will be contacting residents directly.
The committee is planning on three mailers to Washington residents. The first, expected in early March, would be a brochure explaining the nature of the tax and what projects could be built if the tax is approved.
The second mailer, a letter, would be included in the March 15 utility bill. The third and final note would be a postcard to all registered Washington voters at the end of March.
Other forms of advertising discussed were print ads in The Missourian, billboards and other digital signs around town. Yard signs also are being ordered.