The use tax failed at every ballot box on Tuesday, including the City of Ashland. Voters defeated the Internet sales tax 176-119. Boone County voters turned away the new tax 4,274-4,142.
City Administrator Lyn Woolford said he was “disappointed” and noted that the police department is already stretched thin and the city is behind last year’s sales tax collections by about $2,000 – while the city continues to have strong population/housing growth.
“It’s hard to plan for the future when you have a growing city with a shrinking budget,” Woolford said.
City officials were hoping to bring $30,000-$50,000 in revenues with the use tax, and that funding would have helped to fund police officer hours and perhaps a few storm water improvement projects.
The use tax applies when shoppers buy goods outside Missouri and includes many online sales. Shoppers are only required to file use tax with the state when they buy more than $2,000 worth of goods outside Missouri in a year. Online retailers with a physical presence in the state collect use tax at the point of sale, while others outside the state do not.
Voter turnout county-wide was 11%, the second-lowest in the past four special elections in Boone County. That included the 295 voters in Ashland.