The Jefferson City conference center debate had its backers Thursday, but one group came out and trying to change some of the plans. The group know as the Citizens Against Convention Center filed petitions with the city. Group leaders tell ABC 17 News they filed two petitions. One is to lower the lodging tax from four to three percent. The other is to make sure the city won't use public money for the construction of the center, but would leave in place the lodging tax.
Jefferson City residents got a chance, again, to voice their opinions about the proposed $9 million conference center. Several took the opportunity to talk about which one of the two locations is better, how much should the city fund the center, and if the city should build parking.
Citizens Against Convention Center leaders said they think the idea of a conference center is a great one, but they don't want the taxpayers to be the ones footing the bill. If everything goes to plan, they say they'll have plenty of signatures.
The leader of CACC, Tim Stallman, has concerns about the proposals. He the chairman of the first official group against the center.
“The people of Jefferson City deserve to have an election concerning the spending of $10-20 million of their tax money on a convention center that will certainly fail,” Stallman said.
Stallman said if everything goes according to his plans, the petition questions would most likely show up on the April ballot. City leaders said by that time, they could be on the back end of plans.
“I would assume that we will have selected a developer by then and probably be deep into contracts, if not have a firm contract, by then,” Jefferson City interim City Administrator Drew Hilpert explained.
But Stallman is confident he'll have everything he needs, and the vote will pass in a landslide.
“We're going to blanket the whole city. We believe that two-thirds of the people of the City of Jefferson are against subsidies, we believe this petition will be a cakewalk,” Stallman said.
Hilpert is also the city attorney. He said he hasn't looked at the petitions yet, but has 10 days to approve or deny it.