ELDON, Mo. — Miller County voters overwhelmingly decided Tuesday to support a sales tax increase intended to fund law enforcement.
The three-eighths of a percent sales tax received 1,466 votes (68.12 percent). Opponents gathered 686 votes (31.88 percent).
The tax will provide funds for the Miller County Sheriff's Office to pay for operating expenses and law enforcement facilities' capital improvement projects.
The department's budget is about $870,000, and the sales tax — which will sunset in 20 years — will bring in about $1.4 million annually.
All results are preliminary.
Sheriff Louie Gregoire said starting pay about two years ago was $22,000 per year for deputies. In 2021, it was at a point where Miller County officials told him there wasn't enough money to continue adequate service.
"My goal is to be able to add more deputies, add to their pay," he said. "Send them to training. We will be running solely off the tax."
Revenue generated will also help maintain the Sheriff's Office.
Incumbent Eldon aldermen Patricia Crockett, Ward 1, and Jerome Atteberry, Ward 2, each were unopposed. It was Crockett's first election after being appointed to fill the seat when the previous alderman moved.
Crockett received 65 votes (95.59 percent); there were three write-in votes for her seat.
Atteberry received 100 votes (95.24 percent); there were five write-in votes for his seat.
Steve Scrivner defeated incumbent Bryon Hull in Ward 3. Scrivner received 59 votes (67.05 percent). Hull received 29 votes (32.95 percent).
All the winners are to serve two-year terms.
With 58 votes (62.37 percent) Clancy Boots defeated Jayna Gray, who had 35 votes (37.63 percent), in a race to fill an empty seat, also in Ward 3. Eldon has two seats per ward. Boots will serve a one-year term.
Incumbent Debra Rogers received 110 votes (39.15 percent) to remain on the Miller R-3 (Tuscumbia) School Board.
However Wendy Rains received 84 votes (29.89 percent) to narrowly defeat incumbent Weston Ash with 81 votes (28.83 percent).
Voters were asked to select two candidates, each of which will serve a three-year term.
Incumbent Kim Farris is to serve a three-year term on the Miller County Ambulance District Board of Directors.
Farris received 169 votes (63.3 percent) in District 5 to defeat Micheal Morrow, who received 97 votes (36.33 percent).
Moreau Fire Protection District filled an empty seat on its Board of Directors. Jason Wray will serve a six-year term. Wray received 168 votes (39.3 percent), and Chris L. Moore received 259 votes (60.7 percent).
The district touches on three counties — Miller, Morgan and Moniteau.
And in Lake Ozark, embattled incumbent Mayor Gerry Murawski received 103 votes (22.99 percent), which overmatched the single challenger on the ballot Johnnie Franzeskos, who received 97 votes (21.65 percent). However, both lost to write-in candidate Dennis Newberry, who received 229 votes (51.12 percent).