Several hotels and motels stand in Springfield at the intersection of Glenstone Avenue and Interstate 44. (Photo by Shannon Cay)

Springfield voters have changed the way hotel rooms and short-term stays will be taxed, and voted to make two other changes to the city’s charter.

Question 3 combines the “three-layered cake” of Springfield’s hotel and motel room taxes into a single 5-percent tax. It also changes the law on hotel taxes to apply on what is defined as short term rentals, houses or apartments that can be rented for 30 or fewer days on internet-based applications, like Airbnb or VRBO. Question 3 had more than 70 percent of the “Yes” votes for passage with all 57 Springfield precincts reporting.

Voters also doubled up support for Question 1, which updates language in the Springfield City Charter related to the hiring and firing of employees.

Question 1: human resources language and preference for veterans

With 57 of 57 precincts reportingVotesPct.

Question 1’s passage will alter the language in six sections of the Springfield City Charter regarding hiring, firing and employee management. Springfield switched the name of its “personnel department” to “human resources department” in the 1990s, but the language in the charter didn’t reflect the name change, until now.

Director of Human Resources Darla Morrison said the ballot measure is a combination of “housekeeping items” and “changes that we see as critical to our present day or modern workforce needs.” 

Moving forward, Springfield’s director of human resources has authority to terminate the employment of temporary, seasonal and contract workers. Presently, only the city manager has such authority by law. The language change should give city departments that rely on part-time workers, seasonal workers, or workers with fluctuating hours more maneuverability. The Springfield-Greene County Park Board and the Springfield Art Museum both use seasonal employees, and sometimes adjust employees’ hours depending on programming demands.

Question 1 updates language written in 1953 intended to help veterans returning to the United States from World War II and/or the Korean War. It would maintain the City of Springfield’s preference toward hiring military veterans, but extend the preference beyond only veterans who served in an overseas conflict.

Question 2: contracting and bid procedures

With 57 of 57 precincts reportingVotesPct.

Question 2’s passage offers the Springfield City Council some flexibility with letting certain contracts out to bid and awarding them to contractors. The City Council may now opt to award contracts with a single bill reading at a single meeting, rather than reading a bill twice over a period of two meetings, with two or three weeks’ time in between.

“Reducing the amount of time might increase the number of vendors who are willing to bid on our contracts, because they have to make less of a commitment of time — how long to hold their bid open,” Springfield City Attorney Rhonda Lewsader said. “A notice to proceed could be issued quicker if you only had one reading instead of having to wait for a second council meeting.”

Question 3: hotel and short-term rental tax

With 57 of 57 precincts reportingVotesPct.

Question 3’s passage allows for the consolidation of three lodging taxes into a single lodging tax. Collected revenue will continue going to the same places it did before, including debt service on Jordan Valley Park near downtown. 

Prior to Question 3, Springfield voters enacted a 2-percent lodging tax in 1979, a 2-and-½-percent lodging tax addition approved in 1998, and a ½-percent lodging tax enacted in 2004. The 2004 tax was earmarked to attract sporting events and conventions. In the 2023 fiscal year, which ends June 30, the three hotel taxes are budgeted to bring in about $3.25 million per year in revenue for the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau. 

Rance Burger

Rance Burger is the managing editor for the Daily Citizen. He previously covered local governments from February 2022 to April 2023. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia with 15 years experience in journalism. Reach him at or by calling 417-837-3669. Twitter: @RanceBurger More by Rance Burger

Jack McGee

Jack McGee is the government affairs reporter at the Springfield Daily Citizen. He previously covered politics and business for the Daily Citizen. He’s an MSU graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and a minor political science. Reach him at or (417) 837-3663. More by Jack McGee