St. James voters approve new use tax

• Rolla also approves local use tax, but county issue fails

On Tuesday, voters in St. James gave their support to Proposition A, which will allow the city to collect a local use tax of two-percent on online sales to be used to help improve the Tri-County Animal Shelter facility and provide new equipment for the St. James Police Department. The tax will generate an estimated $35,000 in new revenues to the city.

The use tax will apply to online sales from businesses with a physical presence in Missouri. The tax will be applied to those online purchases delivered to an address within the city limits. Voters in favor were 182, with 163 voting in opposition of the tax.
The tax will be used help offset the stagnating city sales tax and will help fund renovations for the animal shelter, which is operated in a city-owned building by a non-profit group. The building is in major need of repairs and the city will use part of the additional revenue to help with the long-term care of the building and the operations of the Tri-County Animal Shelter organization. The St. James Police Department will also benefit with the purchase of new radios and other technology.
Also on Tuesday, Phelps County also put a use tax on the ballot titled Proposition 1, which was a proposed 1.125 percent tax on the same online purchases being delivered within the county. That measure failed, with 2,142 against with 1,668 in favor. The county also faces stagnant sales tax income and hoped to use the tax as an additional revenue stream to help the general fund.
The city of Rolla also ran a use tax for the city, which was approved 860 to 683. Prop P.S. allows the city of Rolla to impose a use tax to fully fund public safety needs, with additional funds being used for general revenue. The tax is 2.25 percent on all online retailers that qualify.
    In Phelps County, just 3,816 of 28,212 voters, 13.53 percent, participated in the special election.