The Versailles City Council voted Tuesday, Nov. 9 to place a local “use tax” on the April election ballot. The stated purpose of the proposal is to assess the same tax rate on out-of-state purchases as is currently charged on local purchases.
In recent years, municipalities have been increasingly losing sales tax revenues to internet and other remote purchases, such as catalog or phone sales, which do not contribute to the local economy or help support services such as public safety, sidewalks and parks, and emergency equipment.
A Use Tax is not an additional local sales tax. It is a tax on the purchase of goods by Missouri residents from out-of-state vendors. Products already exempt from sales tax would remain exempt from a Use Tax.
The current sales tax applies to purchases made at local retailers. The Use Tax applies to purchases made from out-of-state vendors. Purchases cannot fall into both categories. The Use Tax, if passed, will serve to “close a loophole” and insure tax is being collected by out-of-state vendors when residents of Versailles make purchases.
“It [Use Tax] really levels the playing field for our businesses,” said Versailles mayor Jamie Morrow. “Not having it puts our local businesses at a disadvantage.”
The rate of the Use Tax is identical to the local sales tax. If the local sales tax rate is adjusted, so must be the Use Tax.
While the city council has approved the placement of the Use Tax on the ballot, it still must be approved by the voting public. The city council cannot legally campaign directly in support of the Use Tax ballot measure, but efforts to accurately inform the public about the matter are being considered.
Also on the ballot ordinance passed by the council are two council seats coming up for re-election: one North Ward seat and one South Ward seat.
Council Briefs
– City Hall will be closed Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
– A new manhole on Krekel Street has been completed.
– Sludge tanks have been emptied and the wastewater plant is ready for winter.
– Street department trucks have been fitted with plows and 24 tons of salt has arrived.
– New metal roofing for the civic center is slated for installation in a few weeks.
– A $7,000 sidewalk extension from Monroe to the health center was approved.
– A building code enforcement software by Omnigo was approved, at $5,580 annually. Permit fees are expected to pay for the upgrade.