A new education commissioner has been appointed for the state of Missouri. The state board of education yesterday (Wednesday) promoted assistant commissioner Margaret Vandeven to the position. She replaces Chris Nicastro who announced in September that was resigning at the end of the year. During her tenure, Nicastro faced frequent criticism while dealing with struggling school districts.
The 2015 budget for the Osage Beach fire protection district has been approved by its board of directors. The operating levy for 2014 was set in august at 0.5912 cents per hundred dollars of assessed valuation which is a decrease from 2013. Employees will not see a pay increase in 2015 due to higher health insurance costs. Initial bids were indicating a 39% increase in health insurance. However, the district was able lower that to a 17% increase with employees accepting a higher deductible and higher out of pocket maximums. The 2015 budget is expected to be just over $3 million dollars with around $2.8 million dollars in expenses.
A major investigation by several law enforcement agencies has led to the seizure of thousands of counterfeit DVD’s yesterday (Tuesday) in Phillipsburg. According to the Laclede County Sheriff’s department, an unidentified man and woman were taken into custody after police found over 75-hundred counterfeit DVD’s that were being purchased in Hong Kong and then sold on ebay. The two suspects have since been processed and released pending further investigation. Several agencies are involved in the ongoing investigation including homeland security, the U.S. Postal service and the Laclede County sheriff’s office.
The Lebanon School District will be getting a new middle school. A groundbreaking ceremony took place Monday for the $23 million dollar project that is expected to be completed in august of 2016. More than 60 percent of voters approved a bond issue back in April making construction of the new school possible.
The Camden County planning commission will be holding a public hearing today (Wednesday) regarding proposed changes to commission bylaws and article 300 of the unified land use code. Back in October the planning commission passed a motion to move the month its officers are elected from April to June. However, before it can go to the county commission for final approval, a public hearing on the matter must be held. Today’s public hearing starts at 5:30 pm at the Camden County courthouse.
Missouri’s unemployment rate has hit a six year low. Data released by the state department of economic development shows the seasonally adjusted jobless rate is down from 5.9 percent in October to 5.6 percent in November. The total number of new jobs for the year thus far checked in at more than 42,000.
As lake area residents work Christmas presents into their December budgets, there’s one more thing that needs to be factored in…taxes. Personal property and real estate taxes are due by the end of the month and payments need to be postmarked by December 31st in order to avoid fees and penalties. Personal property tax is based on the value of taxable personal property including such things as vehicles, boats, livestock and farm machinery. Real estate taxes are also due by the end of December. If you have questions or did not get a tax bill this year contact your county collector’s office.