For the past decade, the Clinton County University of Missouri Extension has had to navigate an ever-tightening financial landscape, but with a vote of the residents last week, the group will soon receive an injection of new funds.
Voters approved a new tax levy to support the Extension on Tuesday, April 6, by a vote of 1,015 to 894. That levy - $0.0375 per $100 assessed value – will provide the Extension with upwards of $100,000, with which the group can bolster its services, programming and education opportunities.
And eventually, that could mean the return of the Extension offices to the county seat in Plattsburg.
Debbie Davis, engagement specialist for the Clinton County Extension, said that this is just the second time a county has successfully passed such a tax since Missouri’s state legislature approved the practice in 2013. She said the tax’s approval makes the Extension feel valued, and will be motivation to go above and beyond in providing services to the residents.
Those services range from agriculture to business, from health to education, with the Extension being perhaps best known for its flagship program, 4H.
The Extension was formerly housed in the Clinton County Courthouse, but was forced to relocate when the county designated the space for other purposes. At the same time, the Extension was taking a hit to its finances, as the county lowered its annual allocation to the group from $32,000 to an eventual low of $10,000 – the state minimum.
The Plattsburg Chamber of Commerce offered the group a minimal rate to occupy the small building on the southeast corner of Main Street and Broadway. But after staying for a time there, the Extension ultimately relocated to shared office space on the DeKalb County side of Cameron.
Davis said that, with the passage of the levy, the goal is to be back in Clinton County and to operate a full-time office, but added that the decision of where, when and how remains with the Extension Council. On a personal level, Davis said she would like to see the office back in the county seat, citing the Extension’s history in Plattsburg and its central location within the county.
While the levy passed last week has a ceiling of $0.0375 per $100 assessed value, that doesn’t mean taxpayers will always be levied at that amount. Through the formed district, the Extension will be able to set the levy annually based on its need, and can rollback the levy if less funding is needed.
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