Parks Maintenance Sales Tax FAQ

Initiative Overview

The proposed 5-year dedicated parks maintenance sales tax initiative will be funded by residents and non-residents making retail purchases in Blue Springs.  The ½ cent sales tax adds 25 cents for every $50 spent in Blue Springs and would raise approximately $3 million dollars annually.  

Ballot Question Language

Shall the City of Blue Springs, Missouri impose a sales tax of one-half of one percent (1/2 of 1%) for five (5) years, for the purpose of providing funds for local parks for the City? 

Resident Oversight

Revenues from the 5-year dedicated parks maintenance sales tax are only to be used for deferred parks maintenance purposes. This proposed funding would not replace current General Fund allocations for parks and cannot not be used for parks operations.  No funding will be directed to the Blue Springs Fieldhouse.

The Park Commission, made up of Blue Springs residents and business owners, will be charged with oversight of the tax.  If approved, the commission will make regularly scheduled reports to the City Council and all tax expenditure reports will be available on the City’s website.

What is the Parks Sales Tax?

The Blue Springs Parks Sales Tax would be a dedicated sales tax for local parks applied to all retail sales made within the city of Blue Springs that are subject to taxation under the provision of Section 144.010 to 144.525 RSMo.  All revenue received from the local Park Sales Tax is used: “solely for local parks for the City, in order to purchase, improve and manage parks, trails and natural lands for water quality, wildlife, tree preservation and recreation purposes.”

How did we get here and can’t these renovations be funded with current tax dollars?

Addressing parks and recreation needs, especially deferred maintenance, without a dedicated funding source can create budget challenges; especially if the parks have to compete with other community priorities such as public safety, infrastructure, transportation, and ever increasing unfunded federal mandates.  

Because the parks operation and maintenance budgets are funded through City general revenues it is subject to economic volatility as well as changing citizen expectations and priorities that may place less importance on parks. Historically, some park improvements have been funded through Federal and State grants.  Recently however, grant funds have been on the decline and opportunities to use these for park needs is no longer a reliable option available to the City.  

Finally, many funds currently allocated in the City’s Capital Improvement Program are dedicated and restricted for other uses such as the water and sewer fund, streets, sidewalks, and Community Development Block Grants.  These funds cannot be used to support parks maintenance.