A number of important decisions will have to be made on April 2 as area residents go to the polls to vote for Boonville City Council Representatives and new School Board members. Cooper County residents will also vote on the implementation of a out of state 'Use Tax.'
The only contested race for city council is between Ward 3 Boonville City Councilman Hayes Murray and Becky Ehlers. During a meet and greet with the Boonville Daily News, Ehlers said two issues come to mind - economic development and tourism.
"Boonville has suffered the loss of Indeeco and Hostess Brands since the fall of 2012. We recently have learned of the forecasted closing of Nordyne in 2015. Economic development is critical for the growth of this community and the quality of life for our citizens. Tourism is an area that brings people to and through our community, thus generating income. I believe it is important to offer a wide variety of events and activities that are designed to attract families and individuals with diverse interests," Ehlers stated.
Murray said his focus will be on job creation.
"We cannot continue to be reliant on the Moberly Economic Development Group to somehow pull down factory job opportunities for our city. They do not represent us specifically and continuing on in a contract whereby Boonville is compelled to pay $300,000 with no guarantee of results is unwise at best," Murray stated.
Running for council unopposed include Ward 4 Boonville City Councilman Morris Carter and Ward 2 Boonville City Councilman Noah Heaton. Steve Young is running for the seat being left vacant by Ward 1 Councilwoman Kathleen Conway.
Four individuals are running for the Boonville R-1 School including Dr. Kristi Smalley, Shelby Pirtle, Dan Horst and Dr. James Gann. Two seats will be open as board members Jeff Lammers and Brenda Campbell leave their posts.
Smalley said the the quality of education the students of the district receive is very important to her. As a former science teacher, she has spent most of her life working in education and with students. She also said school safety is also a high priority.
"Overall Boonville schools are doing fine but there is always room for improvement," Smalley said.
Horst said the most important issue is helping the school use good common business choices for the district and making good decisions for the future of the students.
" I think I can help bring more of a coordination effort between the public and private school. My other focus will be on technology and how students and teachers are using and learning from it," Horst said.
Pirtle said there is an obligation to use taxpayer's money wisely to get the most from each tax dollar.
Page 2 of 3 - "We need to retain good teachers and offer competitive salaries. Modern, clean physical plants must be maintained. Other needs include transportation, technology and food delivery. It would be my responsibility to assess needs and to use funds carefully to fulfill those needs," Pirtle said.
To Gann it is a civic duty to get involved. While he has spent most of his adult life in higher education, he said he wants to bring life long learning to Boonville.
"I am a native of Boonville. My mother, grandmother and brother-in-law were teachers in the Boonville school district. I have an outside perspective. I think there will be opportunities to engage the community in new ways and collaborate with a variety of education providers to bring new opportunities to everyone in town," Gann said.
Out of state Use Tax
The county out of state 'Use Tax' of 1.75 percent will be included on the ballet as well.
"For over 50 years, Cooper County has had a local sales tax- the current voter-approved rate is 1.75 percent. When you purchase shoes at Family Shoe Store, a computer at the Walmart Super Center, or carpeting from Tabitha at Ricmar Decorating, you pay 7.475 percent combined sales tax- 4.225 percent for the state of Missouri, 1.75 percent for Cooper County and 1.5 percent for the City of Boonville. By definition, sales tax is a tax imposed on retail sales made in Missouri," Eastern District Cooper County Commissioner Paul Davis stated.
Davis stated that in 1991, in response to the growth in retail purchases from out of state, through catalogue and Internet sales, the Missouri Department of Revenue enacted an across-the-board 1.5 percent “Local Use Tax”, to be collected on purchases made out of state and “Used, consumed, or stored” in the State of Missouri.
"From 1991 to 1996, the revenues from this Use Tax were remitted to the individual counties in which the products were 'used or consumed'. In 1996, out of state manufacturers sued the Department of Revenue, on the grounds that local sales tax rates varied across the State of Missouri, and therefore it was unfair to collect 1.5 percent across the board. The United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the manufacturers, and counties, including Cooper County, actually had to return previously collected sales taxes to consumers. In order to recapture the lost Use Tax revenue, the Missouri Legislature enacted a statute that allowed cities and counties to collect an out-of-state Use Tax if it received approval by vote of the people. Between 1996 and 2012, 43 Missouri counties enacted the voter-approved out-of-state 'Use Tax.' Cooper County has never placed the question before the voters until now," Davis stated.
Furthermore, Davis states the reason Cooper County is now asking the voters to approve a 'Use Tax' goes back to a Missouri Supreme Court ruling in January 2012.
Page 3 of 3 - "An individual in Greene County by the name of Street purchased a boat from out of state, brought it back to Missouri, and registered it in Greene County. When the local license bureau charged him State and County sales tax, he paid the county sales tax under protest, arguing that Greene County had never received voter approval for a Use Tax. The Supreme Court agreed with Street, ordered his county sales tax refunded, and instructed all license bureaus to discontinue collecting a use Tax on out-of-state purchases of vehicles, boat, and trailers, unless the local county passed (or had previously passed) a voter-approved 'Use Tax.' Until this ruling, the Missouri Department of Revenue treated all motor vehicle and marine purchases as in-state purchases and collected both the local and state sales taxes at the time of registration," Davis stated.
However, if an individual purchases carpet from out of state, they only pay the Missouri portion of the sales tax (4.225 percent), because Cooper County has no 'Use Tax.'
Davis states the Missouri Use Tax law provides that an individual pay the Use Tax on out-of-state purchases once they have spent more than $2,000 in any given year. The tax payment is voluntary and self-reporting.