Jefferson City convention center opposition group disbands

Sep 30, 2013

Aerial view of Jefferson City
Credit Missouri Department of Tourism

A local resident’s group has decided to disband after the Jefferson City County Clerk’s Office struck down two petition proposals.

The Citizens Against Convention Center Committee will no longer rally against the proposal of a new hotel and conference center.  The group filed two notices of intent on September 18th to the city clerk’s office.

The first notice aimed to eliminate the 4 percent increase of the lodging tax that will be used to fund the building of the conference center.  The second notice was to prevent the city from using any tax revenue or public money to build the conference center but would have kept the 4 percent lodging tax increase.

Charles Gaskin, a member of the Citizens Against Convention Center Committee, says that the city should look at financial options before committing to such a big project.

“People are very concerned," Gaskin said. "Well we’ve got other needs. And we’ve got, just like any other city, we’ve got people that are going hungry and losing homes and all this kind of stuff. Is this an appropriate use to take that kind of money for something that may or may not be successful?”

Jefferson City officials struck down both notices, stating that they violated the city’s charter.  The charter states a petition “shall not extend to any ordinance relating to appropriation of money, levy of taxes or zoning.”

Acting interim city administrator, Drew Hilpert, says the convention center would help to sustain and stabilize business in the Jefferson City area.

“I think the biggest advantage is it keeps the conferences that currently come here, it keeps them here, and then secondarily it will bring in new conferences into the city, and with conferences bring in new people who want to spend money in your community,” Hilpert said.

City Council members are currently waiting on revised building proposals from two possible developers. Hilpert says the city hopes to make a decision on the conference center by the beginning of November.