Next Tuesday, November 5, the St. James City Council has put Proposition A on the ballot. This allows the city to collect a use tax. The legal language states the revenue will be used for the operation and improving the no-kill animal shelter that we have in St. James. This is the only no-kill shelter in the area. We call this a use tax because it is a tax from online purchases and will be collected by those companies that have a presence in Missouri.
When I ran to become your mayor, one of my objectives is to improve the current shelter. In order to do so, we need a dependable revenue source. It is estimated the use tax, or Proposition A, will generate $35,000 annually. That will allow for the installation of better ventilation, better barriers between pens, possible floor drains in the kennel area and other physical improvements to the building.
The revenue will also be used to supply and upgrade the technology needed for the police department. This will allow us to upgrade the radios for both the cruisers and the officers as keep the body cameras up to date. Currently, the officers have to radio dispatch in order to obtain license or verify identification. They do not have a way to access this information from the police cars. This is inefficient and we would be able to purchase the in-car computers so they can quickly access the information they need.
Proposition A is also a fair tax. Proposition A will put the online retailers on a level basis with our chamber members by requiring the same tax as our sales tax. Our local businesses are your friends and neighbors. They have invested in the city of St. James by their presence here. They are the ones that support the band, our sports teams, 4-H, FFA, Future Business leaders and other clubs and civic organizations.
If you pay the local sales tax, you will never pay the use tax. You only pay one, but never both. Without the use tax, the online retailers have an advantage of two percent, compared to the local retailer. The St. James city use tax is the same as the city sales tax and cannot be raised without the citizen approval of an increase in the current sales tax. Also, should the citizens of decide to reduce the current sales tax, the use tax will be reduced by the same amount.
The St. James Chamber of Commerce also supports Proposition A and the Phelps County use tax. The county is facing the same issues as the city of St. James in meeting increasing cost without reducing services.
Please feel free to call me at 573-265-7013 if you have further questions about the use tax. We want all of you to be informed so you can make your decision.
St. James Mayor