Liberty Won’t Ban Pit Bulls Any Longer, And Parkville’s Parks To See More Taxpayer Money
Northland voters repealed a pit bull ban and agreed to one of two sales tax increase in Tuesday’s municipal elections. Here’s a breakdown of what passed and what didn't.
Liberty is now the 24th city in Missouri to repeal its pit bull ban, a topic that’s proved controversial across the country. Advocates of repealing such bans say they are outdated and arbitrary, while supporters say pit bulls are bred to be dangerous.
Brent Toellner, a Kansas City resident and the director of the Best Friends Animal Society, said repeals by a popular vote (as opposed to a city council vote) are rare. He attributed Tuesday's vote to public education efforts by the Liberty Pitbull Alliance.
"(I’m) really proud of the local advocates up there who put in the work to make that all happen," he said. "They went around door to door and knocked on as many doors as they could possibly get to to really get a chance to educate people about an issue."
Voters turned down a half-cent sales tax increase to help fund improvements and expansions for the county jail. County commissioners have been considering an expansion since 2012, as the jail is old and often overcrowded.
County Undersheriff Erik Holland believed the loss was due in part to misinformation among voters, despite several public information sessions.
"We talked to people today that were voting and they were told that there were Jackson County prisoners here," he said.
Holland added that while county officials were disappointed by the result, he believes they have enough time to find other ways of funding the jail.
"I think the people voted and did what they did based on the information they had and last time we went through this on the jail we currently have, it took a few tries so it’s not the end of this," he said. "It’s not gonna go away. This could take two attempts."
The Platte County Democratic Central Committee had urged residents to vote against the tax, while the county’s Republican Party did not take an official stance.
Parkville voters passed a half-cent sales tax increase that will fund the city’s master plan for expanding its parks for the next 10 years.
The city is home to more than 200 acres of parkland, and the master plan calls for connecting large parks to neighborhood parks with more trails, as well as completing the riverfront trail and expanding the trail from State Route 45 to downtown Parkville.
The plan also calls for adding a baseball and softball complex at English Landing Park, as well as improvements to that park and Platte Landing Park, such as a possible boat ramp, soccer fields and walking trails.
Sonia Schlesinger is an intern at KCUR 89.3. Reach her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @soniaschlesi.