CHRISTIAN COUNTY, Mo. –- Voters approved the Christian County library tax Tuesday night in the Aug. 8 election, which will instate a 20-cent property tax levy.
More than 6,000 voters showed up to cast their ballot on the measure, with about 68 percent voting to approve it, and 32 percent voting against the tax levy, according to the Christian County Clerk’s Office.
The county has big plans for the money, like expanding the Ozark library building new ones in Nixa, Sparta and Clever.
Out of all 135 public library districts in the state of Missouri, there were just five with a lower tax rate than Christian County prior to the election. Of the two ballot measures in Christian County Tuesday night, the voters KOLR10 spoke with said they only really cared about one: the library.
It’s the fastest growing residential county in Missouri, but resident Amanda Cook said the library system doesn’t reflect that.
“We don’t have a library in Nixa, and the closest one is in Ozark, which is only 20 minutes, but it’d be really nice to have one local that the kids could go to,” Cook said.
The tax levy will fund libraries where Christian County Assessor Danny Gray sees the most growth.
“Ozark and Nixa are by far the two larger jurisdictions that are growing,” Gray said.
Cook is also a mom who works in the district.
“I work for the Nixa school district and every one of our teachers that live in the area would like to have a library a little closer for our students to be able to use outside of the school day,” she said.
The assessor expects 500 new homes in the county this year alone, and thinks he knows the reason why.
“I think there’s several contributing factors,” Gray said. “One, I think the county is a wonderful place to live, but I think we have some wonderful school systems here.”
The schools need a little help to keep that reputation, and now they’re getting it.
“My daughter just started junior high, so it’d be nice for her to have one a little closer to home,” Cook said.
A similar proposal was shot down in 2010, when voters said they wanted libraries closer to their homes. That’s how this measure got started. The library system expects 85 percent of the county’s population to be within five miles of a library after each new branch is built.
Christian County residents can calculate their new property taxes here.