County voters will get a chance to vote on new sales tax for zoo expansion

CLAYTON, MO – Voters will get to decide if they want to pay more taxes to help the St. Louis Zoo grow.

Right now, the zoo gets about $22 million dollars a year from city and county personal property taxes.

An increase in the zoo tax would bring in an additional $25 million dollars a year giving the zoo a total of $47 million dollars a year from taxpayers in St. Louis City and County.

It’s expected that the ballot measure will be on the November ballot for county voters to see Proposition Z.

The new one-eighth of one percent sales tax would go to fund the upkeep of the current zoo and the new expansion.

Recently the zoo entered into an agreement to buy 425 acres of land near Spanish Lake.  The zoo plans to use part of the land for zoo safaris and wildlife adventures.  The rest of the land would be used for a breeding facility.

The county council voted five to two in favor of putting the bill on the ballot, the city plans to vote on the same proposition soon.

Councilwoman Rochell Gray sponsored the bills and thinks the zoo expansion will be great for North County.  Councilman Mark Harder voted no, saying sales taxes are already over 10 percent in some areas of the county.

Right now, all of the zoo expenses fall on city and county residents.  People living in St Charles, Jefferson County, and the Metro East don`t pay anything for the zoo in their taxes but still get in for free.

If both and city and county pass this tax those residents would get into the zoo expansion part free but others would have to pay.