September 15, 2023

Independence to Sue Jackson County over Property Tax Assessments

From the City of Independence: 

 The Independence City Council has voted to move forward with filing a lawsuit against Jackson County regarding recent property tax assessments.

On July 17, the City Council approved a resolution to direct the City Manager to consult with the City Counselor to determine whether the City should join an existing class action lawsuit. The City Council met in an exeutive session on September 14, where, after hearing guidance from legal counsel, they made the final decision to proceed with their own lawsuit.

The City has retained Charles Hatfield with Stinson, LLP, to represent them in this matter and anticipates the lawsuit to be filed in Jackson County within one week.

A joint statement from the Independence City Council reads:

"In the wake of continuous failures by Jackson County officials to correct their inconsistent and unfair processes related to the assessment of real property taxes, the Independence City Council has authorized City staff to retain legal council to initiate a lawsuit against Jackson County.

The Independence City Council did not make this decision lightly, but feels litigation has become necessary in order to stand up for the interests of Indepenence residents and ensure the assessment process is being done in compliance with state law.

It is the City's hope that this unfortunate, but necessary action, will finally force Jackson County to do what is right for the City of Independence and its residents."


April 12, 2022

Loss of Councilmember Karen Deluccie

From the official Facebook page of the City of Independence:

We received the sad news that At-Large Councilmember Karen Deluccie passed this afternoon following a battle with lung cancer.

"Councilmember Deluccie was a staunch advocate for the citizens of Independence and committed to a balanced budget," City Manager Zach Walker said. "She never failed to ask a question and always looked for the answers her citizens demanded. We will miss her sharp wit and dedication. Our thoughts are with her husband, daughter and son in this difficult time. We will share details on services and memorials honoring her service to the community when they are available."

Councilmember Deluccie asked to share this with the public upon her death.

February 9, 2022

Funeral Services Friday for IPD Chief Fred Mills

On Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022, Retired Independence Police Chief Fred Mills (Van Horn Class of 1962) passed away after a hard fought battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).  Chief Mills retired from the Missouri State Highway Patrol as the Colonel of the Patrol prior to coming to IPD.  Chief Mills served from 2001-2008 at IPD and continued to serve the citizens of Independence in private roles even after retirement.

Services information is as follows:

Friday, Feb. 11, 2022
First Baptist Church of Blue Springs
4500 S. Little Blue Parkway

Visitation 11:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m.
Service 1:00 p.m.

Graveside Services at Floral Hills East, 25203 E. 50 Hwy, Lee's Summit, MO immediately after the service.

February 7, 2022

Meet the Candidates: Marcie Gragg


For those who don't know me, I was privileged to serve previously on the City Council as the First District Council member between 2006 and 2016. I stepped down at the end of that term, which was about a year after my husband passed from cancer. I really enjoyed serving before we accomplished a lot of wonderful things, but at that time three of our four sons were still living at home and needed my full-time attention, so I chose not to run again for Council.

When I served before, we got a LOT of great things done together in the First District (which I represented) and throughout the city. When I served before, we:
• addressed neighborhood blight and created revitalization plans throughout the district.
• addressed serious infrastructure needs and revitalized our historic Truman district.
• championed the development of the city's first inclusive playground and special needs ballfield at McCoy Park (it was named the “Gragg Outpost” in honor of my family’s work on this project.
• corrected obsolete zoning that helped restore single family housing in Englewood, Fairmount, Mt. Washington, and near the Historic Square.
• prioritized undergrounding of electric utilities to improve IPL service and reduce storm outages in our older neighborhoods, especially in the First District.
•  built the arena and expanded economic development around 39th St. 
• partnered with “12 Blocks West,” a redevelopment non-profit corporation, to demo a dangerous apartment building, build new homes, create food distribution networks, provide free job training, and build partnerships with residents, churches, and businesses in western Independence.

Some of these successes can still be seen, and others have been neglected and need our attention again.

Our city is facing a lot of challenges right now, and we have a lot of work to do together to address some problem areas that are detracting from our quality of life. We need solid and well-resourced police, fire, and health services. We need clean, safe neighborhoods with quality housing opportunities for residents of all income levels. We also need to attract job opportunities that raise our median income.  These are my priorities today.

Foremost, public safety must be our first priority.  When I served the council previously, I had a strong record of supporting all aspects of our public safety. Whether it was our police services, our fire services, or our health services, I have always promoted adopting a budget that prioritized these areas. I co-chaired one of the police sales tax campaigns in 2015. If a city is not safe, its citizens can't enjoy quality of life. Ensuring that these public safety departments are well resourced is critical. 

In addition to public safety, we need to give much more serious attention to the increase in the homeless population in our community and to the decline in the quality of housing in many of our aging neighborhoods.  I think we need to take a good hard look and what is driving these two issues, find ways that they are connected, and set priorities for tackling them head on. Regarding quality of housing, I would like to see us focus on ways we can support and resource neighborhoods that are trying to revitalize themselves.

Third, we need to tackle some big issues that are affecting our ability to attract large companies to our city that bring with them high paying jobs.  Wrapped up in this conversation is the issue of our electric utility and the cost of power and how that may be affecting economic development. It’s time that we have some hard conversations in our community about what's been holding us back and what we need to do to break free and move forward.

I hope voters will select candidates who have demonstrated they can hit the ground running and lead effectively with their experience, passion, and integrity.  I believe our Council can do much better than it has in the past several years and I hope to be a part of restoring our citizens’ faith in local government.

For more information visit



Meet the Candidates: Billie Ray Preston


At the top of any thoughtful list of important concerns for the citizens of Independence, MO, or any town in America, you would expect to find health and welfare, housing, a sufficiently thriving economic and industrial base to ensure every person capable of working earns a livable wage, and a wholesome environment that promotes ethics in government. Health and welfare also includes public safety. Housing and the lack thereof define the civility and compassion of a society. Economics and industry are the foundation and corner stones of every sustainable society. However, it is ethics in government that offer citizens the assurance that public resources are used to promote a fair and just community.

At the core of health and welfare is public safety. On the frontline of public safety is the police officer who responds to the widest range of summons. However, it is this very officer that is most neglected. This officer is paid such a low wage that one of our most sacred and treasured public servants is compelled to routinely work eighty (80) to one hundred (100) or more hours per week to adequately provide for family. We would never permit an airline pilot to fly a plane eighty (80) hours a week. We would never permit an over-the-road truck driver to drive an eighteen wheeler eighty (80) hours a week. There are profound negative unintended consequences. And yet, the police officer is economically compelled to work long hours because we withhold what is rightly due: a fair and just wage. No one works ninety hours a week, month after month and year after year, because "they just love their job". This is a dictate of finance or the lack thereof. It is grossly inadequate to merely say, "I support our police." We must hold adult discussions on fair and equitable compensation for our police. Anything else is mindless babble. A just wage is essential; however, continuing education is fundamental and an eighty (80) hour workweek is a major obstacle.

Affordable and fair housing is essential and indicative of a fair and just society. Adequate housing is the product of thoughtful city planning. We must do better. The Independence School District has approximately one thousand (1,000) homeless children daily, and that does not include data from the other three school districts in Independence. This is a pre-covid-19 statistic. The existing federal, state and local partnerships are the short term approach and only a partial solution. When these financial resources are delivered, we must ensure they are delivered to the intended point of need and not diverted to some pork barrel project. This requires accountability and thoughtful oversight. There also must be a region-wide approach to systemic homelessness as presently we are primarily making our homelessness problem our municipal neighbors' problem. The long term solution is as it has always been: education.

There has been municipal effort to attract a more diversified industrial base. There must be a renewed and concerted effort in that regard. However, we may be overlooking the obvious. Our wages are low because we have an under-trained and under educated population. Kirksville MO, with a population under twenty thousand (20,000), has a medical school, a dental school, a university and an incredibly engaged and cohesive local leadership team. Of course, Kirksville holds rigorous debate, but it is always thoughtful and respectful. If we address our most fundamental need, a well-trained and well-educated labor force, we will produce the clean environmental industry of education.

Ethics in government must be more than some trite campaign slogan dragged out seasonally to excuse the lack thereof. Our beloved Independence has been plagued by a dark shadow for more than forty (40) years. This dark hand has been persistent and consistent. Even before the days of Mayor Barbara Potts and to the present, mayors have pushed back. There must be a full-throated ethical movement that includes the City Council rather than having this matter exacerbated by Council members. I will not besmirch our municipal image in this format to advance. However, I intend to shine the light of justice on any proposal that betrays the oath of our fiduciary responsibility. On this matter I renew the sacred pledge to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies both foreign and domestic. I intend to use every arrow in the quiver to pierce the heart of any scheme to misdirect public resources. There must be continuing education on ethics in government for our elected officials, city staff and vendors and contractors.

We must address the issues of health and welfare, housing, economics and ethics in government as a thoughtful people. We are fortunate to be the home of some of the most gifted people in America. We are bigger than our challenge, with solutions resting within our concerted and civil debate. No one person is the solution; however, collectively we embody both the answers and the problems. I choose to be part of the answer.
I am a sixty-nine (69) year old black man who came to Independence in 2008. This community embraced me and I have sought to give back. I am retired from federal service after more than twenty (20) years of enforcing federal labor laws and assisting businesses, industry and labor and professional organizations better understand the many applicable federal labor regulations.

Most of my life has been spent interfacing with the public and in public service. I have enjoyed almost every moment of it. My academic preparation with degrees in economics and real estate, along with the coaching of some incredibly talented and generous people, have prepared me well. I remain coachable, as my years in law enforcement taught me to listen carefully. Federal investigating also taught me to begin each investigation with a clean slate and not some previously held position in search of corroborating data.

Public service does not require one to agree with every position put forward. However, one is required to listen and respect input. I have never longed for public office nor have I ever previously sought public office. I embrace this opportunity because of the encouragement of many friends. They trust me and I trust them. I hope you will too.

For more information visit



Meet the Candidates: Eileen Weir


My husband, Tom, and I moved to Independence in 2000 and purchased his grandparent's home on Blue Ridge Blvd.  Tom's parents, Bob and Carolyn Weir, live next door to us, in the home where Tom grew up.  His grandfather, Bill Reich, worked in the family business A. Reich & Sons in Leeds and the West Bottoms of Kansas City before developing the Blue Ridge Mall and Blue Ridge Bank & Trust Co in the 1950's.  He and Tom's grandmother, Marcie Reich, were very involved in the business and civic communities throughout their lives.

Over the past 21 years that I have lived in Independence, I have focused on public safety and economic development, particularly in Western Independence.  I was appointed to the Citizens Committee on Public Safety in 2003 and worked with Chief of Police Fred Mills and Fire Chief Larry Hodge to understand the needs of our police and fire departments. The committee recommended two sales taxes for police and fire which were placed on the ballot in August of 2004. I learned a lot from working on those campaigns, and I have put my time, energy, and financial resources into many campaigns since then including the school district boundary change campaign to bring the Western Independence schools into the Independence School District.  I led the 2019 Prop P campaign to implement a local use tax to hire more police officers and support our regional animal shelter.

I currently serve on the "On A Roll Committee" to implement the city's downtown redevelopment plan.  This plan includes the Square, Englewood, Maywood, and Fairmount as well as Noland Road, 23rd Street, and 24 Hwy.  Over the past several months, I have been working with Congressman Emanuel Cleaver to secure federal funding for an emissions-free, fare-free bus rapid transit project on 24 Hwy.  This plan will connect Kansas City, KS, Kansas City, MO and Independence with a state-of-the art bus line and revitalize the 24 Hwy corridor with new infrastructure, businesses and housing. This will add to the investment the city has already made for the complete streets project on 24 Hwy that will begin construction this year.

During my time as mayor, I have enjoyed leading trips to other cities in our area and around the country to learn about downtown redevelopment and get great ideas for our city.  My dad's career was in downtown redevelopment, so it is something I grew up with and have always been inspired by.  Independence has so much to offer, and I have dedicated myself to building relationships across the metro and across the country to bring quality development to our city.  Over the past 8 years, our median income has grown from $41,000 to $53,000 and over 5,000 new jobs have been created.

I appreciate your vote on Tuesday, February 8th to keep Independence growing strong.



February 5, 2022

Meet the Candidates: Mike Huff


Greetings. I am Mike Huff and the City of Independence's incumbent Councilmember At-Large elected in April, 2018. I am a life-long resident of Independence, MO. My education has all been within the Independence School District. I graduated from William Chrisman High School and attended a two-year program at Park College. I obtained several work related, industrial, state, federal, and managerial certifications thru my professional career.

I was employed by Armco Steel for several years and then a janitor with Independence Power and Light. I was with the IPL for 34 years as a lineman, superintendent, and electrical distribution manager before my 2017 retirement from the CITY. I managed 50+ employees over those years, assisted in many Missouri and national disaster crews to help other electrical companies during storms and terrible hurricanes like Katrina. I am VERY proud to be a past member of the Steel Workers Union Local 13 (Armco) and IBEW Local 53 (IPL), which both unions continue to strive for worker equalities.

Independence is a wonderful city to raise a family. My wife, Tammy, and I have two successful children who are married with two wonderful grandchildren and one on the way. My parents, who are also life-long Independence citizens, donated time to maintain Independence historical sites and I continue to support these preservation efforts today. This great city is so rich with a diverse history and other unique economical sources that we must promote and capitalize upon to attract new families and businesses to our great city.

I pledge continued efforts for city change to benefit all Independence citizens and to do so with the utmost transparency. I have introduced over 28 ordinances for the betterment of citizens. Many of these have been to save the citizens money through energy rate reductions and refunds, addressing blight in our neighborhoods and business areas, and addressing the need for more police and fire fighters. I also see a great need to address our economic development policies and ideas, create employment opportunities, and increase community services.



January 31, 2022

Meet the Candidates: Kenneth Love


My name is Kenneth Love and I’m running for the office of Mayor because the citizens of Independence deserve a leader who will bring honest and transparent leadership to the people of Independence. A leader who will prioritize the issues plaguing Independence that have only continued to get worse.

The most pressing issues that I feel and citizens have expressed that need immediate and focused attention are:

  • The increase in crime (especially violent crime).

  • The growing number of homeless within the city.

  • Economic decline and the need for growth (beyond just another fast-food joint) to help increase tax revenue and create more jobs.

  • Eliminate wasteful spending of your tax dollars on self-interest and unnecessary projects - to help ensure the financial sustainability of the city.

Improving Independence and getting it back to the great suburban city it once was is important to me because every citizen deserves to live in a city that’s not only safe but thriving - and not have to be scared to go out at night or watch their property value decline due to blight, crime, and other factors.

These issues, as well as others the city faces, are complex issues that will require complex solutions. Campaigns are full of empty promises that are never fulfilled. So I won’t make any promises because action speaks louder than words.

But what I will tell you is that I will work for YOU, and, if I’m elected Mayor, I will prioritize these issues by identifying social services already in place that can be better utilized, exploring solutions that other cities have successfully implemented, reviewing financial resources available to fund solutions, and any other resources available.

I know there are many more issues that will need to be addressed and resolved, but we have to start somewhere, and crime, homelessness, economic decline, and wasteful spending are the most pressing issues Independence is dealing with.

I’ve lived in Independence for 24 years and I’m a regular citizen, just like you. I’m not a polished career politician. I’m running for Mayor because I want to improve the lives of the citizens of Independence and help empower them by being their voice. I WILL WORK FOR YOU.

We’ve had eight years of ineffective, self-serving leadership that’s resulted in wasteful spending, unnecessary self-interest projects, and an FBI investigation into city hall over the questionable business dealings of our current leaders.

It’s time you demand a progressive leader who will put the concerns and needs of citizens over their own self-serving interests. We’ve suffered enough injustice from those in power who have ignored the concerns of citizens and have caused tremendous social and economic challenges within our community.

It’s time to stand up and demand change and we do that by electing new leadership that is committed to serving the interests of the citizens. I stand strong in my unwavering commitment to ensuring a better quality of life for every citizen of Independence.

I vow to make sure no one goes unseen or unheard. Your fight is my fight. And I will fight hard for the change we all want and need to see. A change that takes the special interests control OUT of city hall and puts it BACK in the hands of the citizens.

Great things can be achieved through collective action. Your vote is not just about your voice being heard, it’s about making a difference. And our collective action can help bring about the change we ALL want to see. The change everyone deserves. But it won’t happen without your help. I urge you to stand up for change and make a difference - put new leadership in office. A vote for Kenneth Love is a vote for change.

Independence is at a crossroads. A pivotal time when the need for an honest progressive leader that’s NOT tied to special interest groups or PACs has never been more crucial than it is right now. So on February 8th when you place your vote in the ballot box - that’s when democracy works.

Thank you for all your support!


January 26, 2022

Meet the Candidates: Holmes Osborne


Holmes Osborne, Candidate for Mayor of Independence
My name is Holmes Osborne and I'm running for Mayor of Independence.  Ten years of leadership from Mayor Eileen Weir has seen violent crime increase, blight spread, homeless camps, and strange tax deals that favor developers.   I have the experience, education, and training to return Independence to its glory days.

Mayor Weir had an entire decade to make a big difference, but what has she done? Weir has made sweetheart deals with big-money donors that have left most of our citizens behind to benefit only a few. Some examples: The Solar Farm at Rockwood, closing the Health Department, and allowing our police department to dwindle down to the point where it takes hours to respond to calls.  Our police force has around fifty vacancies. Starting pay is barely over $40,000 a year.  Compared to many other professions, a person can find a much easier job paying a lot more money. $60,0000 a year starting pay would help address this problem.  

Why has our current Mayor Eileen Weir failed at this?  Perhaps it’s because the police union does not give substantial amounts of money to political campaigns.  Too many cozy relationships have detracted the money that should go to law enforcement.  At times, there are 12 patrols, covering 78 square miles, stretching from the Sports Complex to Buckner, Missouri. It’s literally an impossible job.

I am currently an elected Trustee of the Metropolitan Community College.  I'm proud to say that the MCC's Blue River Public Safety Institute’s Police Academy is currently training recruits specifically for the Independence Police Department, and the training they are receiving is first rate! But when they graduate, they need to have a good paying job waiting for them in Independence. 

With my financial background and business acumen, we can make this happen. I have a degree in finance from Syracuse University. My alma mater has the best school of government in the country (the second best is at Harvard).  I am one of the few holders of the Financial Analyst designation to run for public office.  I will use my financial background to make budgetary cuts and direct resources towards law enforcement.  I’ve been featured in the Wall Street Journal three times and have written over 600 articles on finance and economics.  I have decades of experience in money management. I will find and eliminate the waste in the City's budget (there is PLENTY of waste!) and I will fund our police department properly WITHOUT raising your taxes.

Visit my website at



January 22, 2022

Meet the Candidates: Brice Stewart


Personally, I am the father of two beautiful daughters Ollie & Emeline. Their mother Misty and I could not be prouder of them.

Professionally, I am currently on the City Council representing the 2nd District. I work fulltime for Jackson County in the Information Technology Department. I also work part-time as a Police Officer and have for many years. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice and an Associates Degree in Network Administration.

When elected my first areas of focus will be:

#1. Reduce crime and disorder
#2. Lower Utility Bills
#3. Clean up blight
#4. Homelessness

To reduce crime, we must start with hiring more Police Officers. Currently, it is not an easy task to hire quality Police Officers due to many reasons. Independence is not the only agency struggling with Police Officer recruiting and retention. As Mayor I will ensure we offer the best salary and incentives to come and work for our department. Financial benefits are not the only thing that needs to be done, our city needs to ensure the Police Officers who work here have good morale and that starts with a leadership team that must have the right qualities to lead. Our current Police Officers are truly our best recruitment tool, if they are satisfied with their employment, they will be more likely to recommend our department.

Lowering of utility bills will require more commercial businesses to ease the financial impact on the residents. I will focus on bringing more commercial businesses to Independence without a negative impact on homeowners.

Cleaning up blight and the negative impacts of it will require more budgeted money. I will look for grants and any other funding mechanisms at my disposal if this cannot be paid for out of the General Fund.

Homelessness, we more need funding for services and programs. This will need to be a community response since this problem exists across all cities in the metro. I will work with my counterparts in other cities and solicit funding from the state or federal government to try to alleviate this issue.



January 5, 2022


To vote in the Mayor and City Council races on February 8 you MUST BE REGISTERED BY JANUARY 12. It only takes a few minutes to register online. Please make sure you're registered, and spread the word! Use the online form at the link below:
Register to Vote for the Independence Mayor's Race


December 3, 2021

Still No Arrests in November Drive-By Shooting

So far there have been no arrests made nor suspects named in two separate drive-by shooting incidents on 24 Highway in Independence that happened in the early morning hours of November 20. 

The first shooting occurred at approximately 12:30 a.m. at a house on a block sandwiched between the Army Reserve center to the west, and a CVS pharmacy to the east. Five shots were fired at that time.

Two and a half hours later the assailant or assailants returned with an AK-47 and fired at least 50 rounds of ammunition into the two houses less than 30 footsteps away from the Army Reserve center. The house on the left sustained the most damage, with more than 40 shots hitting the exterior and interior of the house. Bullet holes riddle the siding, windows, interior and exterior doors, walls, framed pictures, the garage, and the owner's automobile. Shots fired through the front door lodged bullets into the wall at the back of the house. The occupant of this house was in bed during the attack, and was not injured. Police recovered more than 30 shell casings when they arrived at the scene. 

The house to the right was hit with approximately 15 bullets, which also sailed through the windows and were lodged into walls. The family that owns the house had recently moved away. Had they still lived at that residence, their seven children who occupied the rooms that were fired upon could have been in grave danger.

Police who were called to the scene questioned the homeowner whose house sustained the most damage, a 76-year-old man who felt that the officers were skeptical when he insisted that he had no enemies or quarrels that would cause somebody to spray his house with bullets from an automatic weapon. He has contacted detectives several times since the incident but has been told that no further information is available regarding possible suspects.

The resident, along with many others, are having a difficult time understanding how an attack of this magnitude could occur on a city block with such extensive surveillance, yet no clues have been offered nor have the police asked for the public's help in identifying the attackers. 

If anyone does have any information regarding this incident, please contact the Independence Police Department Investigations Unit at (816) 325-7330.

October 21, 2021

The Loss of Paul Wrabec

'A good person, period': Paul Wrabec, chair of the Jackson County Democrats, has died

Paul J. Wrabec, chairman of the Jackson County Democratic Party, died Wednesday. He was 64. Kansas City Democrats paid tribute to him on social media. "Paul loved his family. Paul loved Sugar Creek and Jackson County. And, even in lean times, Paul loved being a Democrat," Mayor Quinton Lucas wrote.

October 7, 2021

Atherton Quarry Cancelled -- For the Time Being...

Sugar Creek limestone quarry plan dropped - 'back to the drawing board,' says mayor

Central Plains Cement and its partner companies have pulled back their proposal for a limestone quarry in Sugar Creek, a project that drew much citizen backlash at crowded public hearings. Residents said they were worried about noise, dust and heavy truck traffic.

September 26, 2021

Upcoming Gas Tax Increase & Refund

State Representative Ingrid Burnett sent us a communication that she received from Missouri's Director of Revenue regarding the upcoming fuel tax increase, and how Missouri consumers can receive a refund for this. Start saving your gasoline receipts after October 1! Please read carefully, and many thanks to Representative Burnett for sharing this with our readers! (Emphases added)
Dear Members of the General Assembly,

On behalf of the Missouri Department of Revenue, I respectfully request your assistance in sharing the following information about the motor fuel tax increase with your constituents.

On Oct. 1, 2021, Missouri’s current motor fuel tax rate of 17 cents per gallon will increase to 19.5 cents per gallon. Under Senate Bill 262, your constituents may be eligible to receive a refund of the 2.5 cents tax increase they pay on Missouri motor fuel in vehicles weighing less than 26,000 pounds for highway use on or after Oct. 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022. Refund claims for this period may be submitted on or after July 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2022.

Although customers may not apply for a refund claim until July 1, 2022, they will need to begin saving records of each purchase occurring on or after Oct. 1, 2021, that they intend to include in their refund claim next year.

A refund claim form will be available on the Department of Revenue’s website prior to July 1, 2022. A claim must be filed by the customer who purchased the fuel, and records of each purchase must be maintained by the customer and available for inspection by the Department for three years.

The following information will be required when submitting a refund claim:

1.       Vehicle identification number of the motor vehicle into which the motor fuel was delivered;

2.       Date of sale;

3.       Name and address of purchaser;

4.       Name and address of seller;

5.       Number of gallons purchased; and

6.       Number of gallons purchased and charged Missouri fuel tax, as a separate item.

The Department will be developing an online system so that customers can electronically file a claim and receive an approved refund.

Please note: Missouri’s motor fuel tax rate will increase by 2.5 cents per gallon annually on July 1 until it reaches 29.5 cents in July 2025. Under SB 262, your constituents may request a refund of the Missouri motor fuel tax increase paid each year: 2.5 cents in 2022, 5 cents in 2023, 7.5 cents in 2024, 10 cents in 2025, and then 12.5 cents in 2026 and each year after.

Please refer to our FAQs - 2021 Senate Bill 262 for additional information. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to our legislative director, Zachary Wyatt, with any questions or concerns you may have. You may reach Zach at 573-751-0191 or


Ken Zellers, Director
Missouri Department of Revenue

September 16, 2021

Zoning Hearing about Atherton Quarry Thursday, Sept. 16

From the Stop the Atherton Quarry group on Facebook:
The continuance of the Planning and Zoning meeting is tonight at 7 pm at Mike Onka Community Hall, 11520 E Putnam St Sugar Creek, MO 64054.
Masks are required. 
If you have a yellow shirt, please wear it to show a united front. 
Sugar Creek officials were very impressed with how respectful we were last time. Let’s show them that same respect and courtesy tonight. Questions tonight should be geared towards just the rezoning of these parcels. There will be no zoom link tonight, and we can’t guarantee a live stream because the cell service is not great. If you can’t come, please call or email the Aldermen. Their contact info is listed below. We will see you tonight!

August 27, 2021

Atherton Quarry Zoning Hearing: Was Anybody Heard?

More than 150 residents of Sugar Creek, Atherton, and Jackson County attended the Sugar Creek's Planning and Zoning Hearing last night. The hearing had been moved to the Mike Onka Community Hall when it became obvious that citizen input would be heavy, as word spread that the hearing involved granting a special permit that would allow the Central Plains Cement Company of Sugar Creek (using their more environmentally friendly name, "Audubon Materials, LLC") to operate an open-pit mining operation. 

This quarry would cause extreme disruptions in the quality of life and property values of the citizens and businesses this mining operation would impact, not to mention the health and environmental dangers common in areas where such mining operations already exist. By the company's own admission 40,000 truckloads of limestone gravel a year would be making their way from the mining site to the company's cement plant on Courtney Road in Sugar Creek. 

Around 30 citizens, many wearing yellow shirts as a show of solidarity against the proposed mining project, spoke before the committee and the company's representatives. All spoke in opposition of the plan, and were disappointed to find out that questions would not be answered during this hearing. There was no citizen input in favor of the proposed mining operation.  

Besides the obvious disturbances of air quality and noise pollution from the blasting, speakers also shared concerns about damage to housing foundations and water-wells, wildlife habitats, wastewater run-off, and more. Independence residents are concerned by the fact that the open-pit mine will be located above the aquifer that supplies more than 250,000 citizens with water that's been rated internationally as being among the top five tap waters in the world.

Mrs. Ivey Zoellers, who moved to Sugar Creek with her husband in 2020 to escape the disastrous health effects of living close to an open-pit mine in Greenwood, Missouri, was the first citizen called to the microphone for questions and comments, with five minutes allotted to each speaker. After she asked questions for about two minutes and 30 seconds City Administrator Pat Casey told her that her time was up, and that no questions would be answered at that time. Today she said,

"Of the 20 people who I spoke with face-to-face during my time canvassing on my own street, 18 of those people informed me that they had not received any prior notice of this quarry or the rezoning meeting. It should be noted that all 18 of those people who were not notified were adamantly against a quarry existing in their town and signed the petition to show their support with their nearby neighbors, who also do not want it in their own neighborhood. The 2 people who I did speak to who did know about the quarry were the only 2 who were interested in having it in their town. And while I could wildly speculate a conclusion about that fact I do not think it was by cosmic fate, but I do think it was by intelligent design."

She continued, "Honestly my most vivid take away within the last 48 hours from my experience canvassing my own street and listening to the town's people vent their frustrations is about the institutions that have made them feel powerless and ignored. No one deserves to feel that way."

Mrs. Zoellers' exasperation is shared by many others as can be seen on the Facebook page, "Stop the Atherton Quarry." The online petition urging the City of Sugar Creek not to grant a special use permit for the open-pit mine has already received over 1,000 signatures.

Last night's hearing was shared with online citizens via the Zoom meeting platform. After announcing that another hearing would take place at the same time and location on September 16, a motion was made not to make the next hearing available on Zoom. The motion was passed without objection.