July 15, 2023

By Angie Jeffries

County Executive Frank White, Jr., has issued a call to action for the immediate implementation and improvement of Senate Bill 190 (SB 190), a newly enacted legislation that allows counties to provide a homestead exemption to senior citizens.

SB 190 provides an opportunity to give much-needed financial relief to seniors facing rising healthcare, food, and housing costs. However, it has certain shortcomings that need to be addressed. As it stands, SB 190 overlooks the needs of senior renters who often face financial instability. It does not distinguish between affluent homeowners and those most in need, and it fails to include benefits for many retired civil servants like teachers, firefighters, and other first responders. These shortcomings have led to opposition from key state organizations, including the Missouri Municipal League, the Missouri Association of Counties, and the Missouri School Board Association.

In an effort to better implement and improve upon SB 190, Executive White plans to issue an emergency contract to engage a third-party consultant. This consultant, yet to be identified, will bring in the necessary expertise and resources to expedite the review and effective implementation of the bill. Their responsibilities will include conducting a thorough legal analysis, developing suitable language for the county’s code of ordinances, engaging with impacted taxing jurisdictions, creating a customer-friendly program, and identifying opportunities for improving the current law.

“We are on the clock. Our seniors cannot afford to wait,” the County Executive stated. “Unless a written objection is received from a member of the County Legislature by the end of next week, I plan to proceed with identifying a qualified contractor immediately. If any objections arise, we will follow the formal procurement procedures outlined in Chapter 10 of our Code of Ordinances.”

Executive White is earnestly requesting the support of the legislature for the issuance of this emergency contract, and for the passage of an ordinance to secure the necessary funding.

“We need to come together to make the most of SB 190 while advocating for its improvement. I look forward to us collectively addressing this pressing issue and truly making a difference in the lives of our senior citizens,” stated Executive White.

For more information, please contact Marshanna Smith at msmith@jacksongov.org or call (816) 881-3333.