Newton County releases figures on how $2.5 million generated by - KOAM TV 7

Newton County releases figures on how $2.5 million generated by road improvement tax is spent

Newton County released new figures today detailing how it has spent the $2.5 million generated by a road improvement tax that was approved by voters in 2011. 
Those who drive Newton County roads say there is room for improvement.
"When you're driving around and you see potholes and things that should be fixed, they should be fixed," said Laurel Cagle, Newton County resident.
County commissioners say some of those changes are coming this summer.
The road improvement sales tax began generating a substantial amount of revenue in 2012.
The first year brought in $1 million and the past year, nearly $1.5 million.
With that funding, nearly 70 miles worth of road projects have been completed so far and preparations for more projects are already underway.
"We're getting them prepared for hard surface," said Marilyn Ruestman, Newton County Commissioner.  "We may be putting down a base rock and then waiting a year, and letting traffic drive over it.  Then we'll come back and put a chip and seal or some kind of a hard surface on that."
Nearly 50 miles of projects were completed in 2013 alone.
County commissioners hope another 50 miles worth of work will be completed by the end of the year.
"You'll see a lot of activity June through October," Ruestman said.
The county is divided into 8 separate road districts, each with their own projects ranging anywhere from $8,000 to $35,000.
The first 50% of the sales tax revenue is divided evenly among the districts on a per mile basis.
"The second 50% of that sales tax, excludes Joplin and Neosho, so the balance, $750,000, is divided equally among the remaining 6 districts by mile," said Alan Cook, Newton County Commissioner.
Commissioners say this provides a huge benefit to the smaller districts.
"It's worked very well because some of the very small districts that had very little income, now have additional income that they really didn't have a way to get otherwise," Ruestman said.
The quarter-cent sales tax sunsets in 2017.
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