The Sedalia City Council passed an ordinance Monday night that calls for a special election to take place Aug. 6 concerning a proposed one-eighth-cent sales tax increase for public parks and storm water control.

The special election will also ask voters to remove the sunset clause from an existing capital improvement sales tax.

Speaking in favor of the sales tax increase near the top of the meeting was Sedalia Parks & Rec Director Amy Epple. A community center has been the goal of the department for years, she said.

The cost of the community center would not exceed $20 million. The increase in funding will pay for the principal, but not the rest of the cost, Epple noted. She then introduced Sue Heckart, who said that she met with Mayor Bob Wasson 18 years ago and talked about the idea of a community center.

“There has been a lot of water gone under the bridge, disappointments and hurt feelings. But this is a new beginning. This is not about Sue Heckart wanting to put the Heckart name on another building. Sedalia supported my parents and me and our family business for 70 ½ years. This is to honor the memory of Bill and Stella Heckart by giving back to the community, and helping make a desire of my parents come true,” she said in a prepared statement.

Her proposal Monday night was the same as before, which was to pay the interest on bonds, with naming rights to the community center. The only stipulation was that the project be completed in time for the 20th anniversary of Stella's death, March 18, 2021.

“United we will be successful, divided we fail,” Heckart concluded. The Council erupted in applause.

The Council later approved both ordinances, with Councilwoman Megan Page abstaining from the vote.

If approved by voters in August, the sales tax will increase from three-eights to one-half cent. The extra one-eight center is estimated to bring in an additional $655,000 annually to the City to help fund construction costs through debt service, explained City Administrator Kelvin Shaw.

It wouldn't be prudent to undertake a community center project without removal of the sunset clause, he added.

The Council, at the conclusion of a two-hour open session, took a short break, then met in closed session.

In the top photo, Sedalia Mayor John Kehde chats with Sue Heckart before the start of Monday night's regular Council meeting.

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