The removal of two Arnold City Council candidates from the April ballot has left two wards uncontested - for now anyway.
That's because Shaun Missey, a Ward 1 candidate, and Rodney Mullins, a Ward 3 candidate, have had their names taken off the ballot for not paying taxes and for outstanding city service bills, respectively.
Arnold City Clerk Diane Waller explained that Missouri law requires candidates to have all taxes and city bills paid before the last day of filing, which was Jan. 15.
Waller said Missey wasn't certified because he has not paid 2012 personal property tax on a vehicle he owns. She said Mullins did not qualify because he is in arrears for municipal services.
Missey told Patch he does not recall receiving a 2012 personal property tax declaration for the Dodge Grand Caravan he bought in October 2011. At the time, he said he had to obtain a tax waiver to register the car because he did not have a paid personal property tax receipt for the previous year.
"I've lived in the same house for seven years," he said. "The vehicle should should have been listed on my 2012 personal property tax bill."
Missey also told Patch that Mayor Ron Counts should be disqualified for running for reelection because Jefferson County Assessor's records show his business is behind on taxes.
Waller said the Jefferson County website has not been updated. She confirmed Counts paid the tax on Dec. 31.
Meanwhile, Mullins said his sewer/stormwater/trash bill to the city was paid in December, and that he has a copy of the check he mailed to prove it.
City Attorney Bob Sweeney said candidates whose names are removed from the ballot because of outstanding taxes or bills have two options:
- they can pay the bill and run on the ballot as a "write-in" candidate;
- or if there was an administrative mistake, they can file a writ (which is a form of litigation) asking for an order from the court that the administrative action of putting their name back on the ballot be performed.
To put the second option into perspective, Sweeney gave the following scenario: a candidate files for office and the city clerk finds the person ineligible for office because his or her real estate taxes are unpaid.
The candidate's taxes were paid into their escrow account, but the escrow agent failed to turn over the money to the appropriate taxing agencies.
"In a case like that, the candidate would file the writ, and the court would agree that the mistake was not their fault and order that his/her name be placed on the ballot," Sweeney said.
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