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Commissioners bar resident for cussing county workers
Commissioners bar resident for cussing county workers

Sheriff Jimmy Bench tells Xavier Souser to leave the courthouse.

WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (Feb. 16, 2023) -- Local resident Xavier Souser has been ordered to leave the Pulaski County Courthouse after swearing at Presiding Commissioner Gene Newkirk and saying Pulaski County should use $30,000 in marijuana tax revenue to repair gravel roads.

According to Newkirk, he's received calls and texts saying Souser is walking down Route 66 holding a sign objecting to taxation without representation in front of various local public offices including the Waynesville License Office and Waynesville Police Department.

"He's still screaming at cars out there and showing his sign," Newkirk said.

After being ordered to leave the Pulaski County Commission meeting, Souser left the courthouse, came back with a sign, and began to write a message on the sign after Sheriff Jimmy Bench barred him from entering the courthouse.

During the commission meeting, Souser presented a manifesto to the commissioners.

"The road issue has created far more issues," Souser said. "Some of these being issues to people's car tires and suspension component. Improper water drainage like this causes basins to run dry and animal numbers dwindle. These roads need ditches, curbs and embankment. They need something to hold it together. We do this with what is called rip rap."

Souser said the county should work harder to repair its roads.

"Does Pulaski work with MoDOT?" Souser asked.

Newkirk didn't object to the manifesto, but did object to Souser raising his voice and bringing up what Newkirk said was the unrelated issue of marijuana.

"Let me speak, sir," Souser said.

"Don't raise your voice with me or you'll be outside. You got it?" Newkirk said.

"You're raising your voice with me; you don't want to hear," Souser said."

"You're going to be out of here in less than two minutes," Newkirk said. "Don't smile at me or you're going to be out of here in less than one."

"I did the calculations on it. They sold 16000 pounds of recreational marijuana," Souser said. "That's over $30,000 in tax money. Where does that money go? Where does all the other money go?"

Souser said the county's revenue from marijuana sales tax should go to road work, but Newkirk said the county doesn't receive marijuana sales tax revenue.

"With an area of 551 square miles of beautiful forest and streams, a population of nearly 55,000 people, and being named after a patriot in the American Revolution, you would think we could do better. So now, today, today is when better starts. For Kazimirez Pulaski," Souser said. "I don't think any of you old people in this room are willing to change. And I will end my discussion on that note. If any of the young people in this room are willing to change, please tell me so we can get these F-ing people out of here."

Souser's use of the F-word ended Newkirk's patience.

"You're out of here -- don't come back, ever," Newkirk said.

After Souser was escorted from the room, Newkirk and County Clerk Dave Ernst explained their understanding of current state law on marijuana taxes. According to Ernst, the Missouri Association of Counties is currently reviewing legal issues but believes the maximum tax on marijuana is 3 percent, and if a city and county both pass a marijuana tax, it's not clear what happens since unlike regular sales taxes collected by both counties and cities, there's a 3 percent cap on the total amount that can be collected from a marijuana tax.

"He's talking state, he's not talking county, and the marijuana tax ain't even here yet," Newkirk said. "We don't get any of it, it goes to the state."

Commissioners said today wasn't the first time Souser had become angry dealing with county officials and employees. Eastern District Commissioner Charles Bassett said Souser had called him and sworn at him, and commissioners said other employees had similar experiences.

According to Newkirk, county employees have been told that they do not need to deal with people who swear at them and should refer such people to the commissioners.

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