Communities in the Ozarks deciding Use Tax questions

Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 5:17 PM CDT
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OZARK, Mo. (KY3) - Multiple communities in the Ozarks are looking to approve a local use tax on out-of-state online purchases.

The issue is on the ballot in Monett, Ozark, and Stotts City. It would mirror the local sales tax for residents only in those cities on purchases made online through non-Missouri businesses. All three cities currently have a local sales tax of approximately 2.3%.

According to the City of Monett, the tax has already been approved in over 230 Missouri cities.

“I just think (voters) should be educated on what they’re voting for and be aware of how it will affect them as well as the whole community,” said Bobbie Ligon, owner of Magnolias Market and Boutique in Ozark.

Ligon has been in business for nearly four years, selling merchandise solely in-store and through social media.

“We do sell it through our Facebook business page. We do not have a web page. (It) just works better through social media for us,” she said.

Local stores like Ligons won’t be affected, nor will local stores with online sales.

“So it’s not a double tax. It’s a city tax made with the city’s tax rate only on purchases online and out of state,” said Lt. Jared Drye with Ozark PD.

So if approved, where would it go? Well, in both communities, it is hoped to be used for public services. In Monett, that can mean anything from the fire department to roadway maintenance. In Ozark, it’s 100% for public safety.

“The city has to have a way to fund the police department, and the best way to do that is through a tax,” said Lt. Drye. “The ballot language specifically sets that tax aside to fund the police department through facility upgrades, fleet and equipment problems, and staffing.”

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