When we moved to Caruthersville, it didn't take me long to start asking myself why there was so little industry here. It wasn't absent in the surrounding area so beyond lack of community self-promotion, it was a puzzle. One part of the puzzle was 'why on earth is the Wal-Mart building still standing empty after being vacant for 19 months?'. After six months of attending City Council meetings followed by a change in city administration, I started to glean the answer.
Back home, a small sales tax increase was pointed at gaining one single objective. The library tax comes to mind. What once was a library of limited hours and employees, is now a thriving local library that is still going strong. Here, we have a similar need but one that is much more vital - our need for clean and well-treated water. C'ville is a small community with limited access to growth because of our inability to provide sufficient water to large commercial investors. With the loss of the Wal-Mart, we lost a key source of funding for our community. We also lost jobs and easy access to basic household goods. Now shopping trips involve planning and extra gasoline output.What we don't think about is the higher sales tax we pay when we shop out of town, tax dollars that support another town's needs, not our own.
Caruthersville's current sales tax is 8.75%/ dollar spent. The four most used shopping areas near us are Kennett (8.975%), Blytheville, AR (10.5%), Dyersburg, TN (9.75%), and Hayti (9.47%). The city's proposed 1/2 cent sales tax increase would raise our sales tax to 9.25%, an amount that is still lower than the areas immediately surrounding us.
This tax increase isn't a frivolous one and involved months of discussion, looking at other options, and planning. Our water and sewage departments are in difficult straits and it is only the talent, dedication, and creativity of its men in the plants and rendering ponds that keep things going.
Many of you remember the tornado of 2006 that devastated our town. The loss of utilities left many of you without electricity for weeks. What we are facing now is a different sort of tornado; it is one fueled by the relentless winds of time. The system is old and at service capacity. If we ever hope to bring jobs and prosperity back to Caruthersville, we must repair, update, and expand our water capacity and its companion, waste water treatment. Water is the gold standard of any community. A community's survival rises and falls with its water capacity. Coming from California where water wars are historic, on-going, and as hazardous as any Grand Theft Auto video, believe me, I know. I've lived it.
A 1/2 cent sales tax equals only 1 penny for every two dollars spent. You won't even notice it but the benefits to the community will be immense and very noticeable. Water equals security, jobs, and growth, something that I think we all deserve.
So, inform yourselves. Go to the city council meetings. If you get off work at five, arrive late. No one cares if you are late. Read the minutes to the meeting which always appear in the following Wednesday paper. Go to the open forum scheduled at one of the following locations:
July 19th, 6 p.m.
Information tour at the Industrial Park location.
Hot dogs and beverages will be served
July 26th, 6 p.m.
American Legion Post 88 on Truman Blvd. Paul Shaw and Richard Lee will be presenting the program.
August 2nd, 6 p.m.
Caruthersville Public library in the Baxter Theatre
Paul Shaw and Richard Lee will be presenting the program
Backyard BBQ Booth - Information and photo booth
August 6th, 6 p.m.
Tour of 3rd street water plant. Hot dogs and beverages served as well.
And last but not least . . .
Read recent past issues of the Pemiscot Press. The information there is detailed and informative. The coverage is also available on-line at http://www.pemiscotpress.com/
I cannot think of a single more vital need for our community than an improved water and waste management system. We only have one water power plant. This plan also includes the reactivation of the 3rd Street Plant. If our current, Industrial Park Plant, ever went off-line, we would be in another tornado situation. Please vote on August 7th and support the 1/2 cent sales tax increase.
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