A Committee to Save Jobs made a formal push to the public Tuesday on an upcoming Buchanan County ballot question.
Community members gathered Tuesday morning for a press conference on King Hill overlooking the Missouri River and industry protected by the levees. Bob Wolleman is the campaign chairman and owner of Deluxe Truck Stop which is one of the businesses protected by the levees. Wolleman said the Committee to Save Jobs was formed to ask voters to approve a quarter-cent sales tax on the Aug. 2nd ballot to repair the Missouri River Levees.
“For the purpose of creating part of the 35-percent of the revenue that’s going to be required by the federal government, matching funds for the reconstruction, redesign of the levees that protect the St. Joseph community,” Wolleman said. “Primarily those businesses and residents that are located in the southwest corridor.”
He said the levees are in great need of repair.
“The west levee is not certified at this time, the east levee has some major structures that need to be included in it to be more stable,” Wolleman said.
The project is estimated to cost more than $70-million. However, funding for the repairs isn’t just coming from tax payers in Buchanan County.
“The federal government is providing 65-percent of those funds,” Wolleman said. “We have some money coming from Buchanan County’s existing treasury, we have some money coming from the treasury of St. Joseph and then there are three major levee districts that are contributing funds…The state of Missouri has come forward with an announcement a few weeks ago that the state of Missouri is going to put $5-million towards this project so it’s really multi-faceted as far as government funding. The remainder of the money is why we have this sales tax initiative.”
Even though the issue is the Missouri River Levees, Wolleman said more than 6,000 jobs and people’s homes as well as Lake Contrary Elementary School is what’s at stake.
“We have about 6,000 jobs that are located behind the levee protection,” Wolleman said.
The question on the sales tax is up for vote in Buchanan County Aug. 2nd. For more information on the Save St. Joe Jobs campaign CLICK HERE.