Municipal elections June 2, 2020, Ozark

Voters pass through the final point where electioneering is allowed outside the First Baptist Church polling place in Ozark June 2, 2020.

Where were we Ozark? Why didn’t we show up? 

As a community, we let our voices be heard in a local survey. We want park development. We want walkways and hiking trails. We want to maintain the quaint charm of Ozark as we continue to develop our economy. We also said we want a secure and safe community. Then… where were we?

Only 15 percent, yes, 15 percent of our registered voters actually showed up to vote on June 2. There were 1,026 voters voting “No” who spoke for 20,000 registered voters. And since they took the time to come and vote, you and I lost everything we asked for in the survey. We didn’t “Love Our City” enough to go vote for the very things we wanted. What? 

“Those things weren’t on the ballot” you say? Well, let’s see.

Every one of the projects we asked for would have been funded by the use tax. Wait! Don’t stop reading because I said the “T-word,” tax. The use tax would only apply to any internet purchases. If you never shop online, you never pay the tax. Of our 50 states, 48 states already have this tax. Various cities in Missouri, including NIxa, have already added the internet sales use tax and are benefiting tremendously for their community projects. This would be the ONLY tax we pay that 100 percent of the tax would go directly to our survey projects we specifically asked for.

How could we oppose our brave police department by not voting? When we didn’t vote, they lost the funding they were hoping for to expand our police department. We want a peaceful and safe community but we’re not willing to pay $2.37 in taxes on a $100 online purchase. 

At this moment, in the times we are living in, our police department needs our support more than they ever have and that support includes making sure they have the funds for the equipment, cameras, vehicles, computers, work space, and more that they desperately need to run an efficient department meeting all our needs for a safe and peaceful community.

Because 85 percent of registered voters didn’t vote, all those projects will likely not happen at all. This is a bitter pill to swallow and I, for one, am choking on it. I’m angry. I’m disappointed that so many allowed so few to take these projects away from us. I did vote. I did vote for the tax. I did go to the community meeting with city officials and heard how and why these funds were needed and saw sketches and photos of the wonderful projects they would have funded. I gave my support to the desires of the people. I gave my support to the police department. I was looking forward to the parks and trails and walkways.

I tell myself that if you didn't vote, you just didn’t realize the ramifications of your lack of voting. I plead with you to never miss the right and privilege to vote. Your vote, or lack of vote, affects us all.

Judy Hartley


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