Few attended a public hearing at Laurie City Hall Wednesday evening. The hearing was intended to provide information to the public on the city's proposed use tax that will be on the Aug. 7 ballot. However, of the few people in attendance, most were connected to city hall in some way.
Mayor Herb Keck gave a brief presentation on the issue, calling the proposal a simple renaming of the city's former sales tax on out-of-state and individual-to-individual sales of vehicles. He also termed the use tax a "replacement" of this sales tax.
This type of sales tax by cities and counties was ruled unconstitutional by the Missouri Supreme Court earlier in the year. These entities had to stop collecting it in March.
Laurie is seeking a 2 percent use tax on these items as it has a 2 percent sales tax otherwise. Keck has estimated that the city will lose about $3,000 a year without the use tax during a time when they can ill afford any more hits to the budget.
The budget has already been pared down to "bare bones," he said.
As the city does not collect property tax, it is reliant on sales tax. The board has had to make budget cuts over the last few years as the economy's struggles have been reflected in declining revenue and the cost of doing business has increased.
According to the language on the ballot, a use tax return will not be required on these types of purchases that do not exceed $2,000 in a calendar year.
Also, the use tax will always be set at the same rate as the rest of the sales tax. So if voters approve any reduction, increase or repeal of the sales tax, the same will occur to the use tax.
There is still a chance for the public to hear more about the issue from city officials. Another hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 4 at city hall on Hwy. 5.