Carthage voters will likely be asked in August to allow the city to continue collecting a 2.75 percent sales tax on purchases of vehicles, trailers, boats and other items purchased out of state.

Carthage voters will likely be asked in August to allow the city to continue collecting a 2.75 percent sales tax on purchases of vehicles, trailers, boats and other items purchased out of state.
Carthage City Administrator Tom Short said it's a tax the city currently collects with the permission of the state legislature, but it will go away at the end of 2018, costing the city between $65,000 and $75,000 if voters don't vote to renew it.
The Carthage City Council considered a measure on first reading to put the question to the voters at its meeting on Tuesday. It will likely take a final vote at its meeting on May 23.
The only question among Council Members came from Council Member David Armstrong who asked why the city didn't put the percent of the sales tax on the proposed ballot language.
Short and City Attorney Nate Dally said they would look into whether the city had to have the number in the ballot language.
Short said issue stems from a 2011 Missouri Supreme Court ruling that declared the state's sales tax law didn't allow the state to collect what was then called a use tax on vehicles, boats, trailers and other vehicles and large ticket items purchased by residents of Carthage from out-of-state businesses.
The city lost out on about $65,000 in revenue in 2011 when the tax wasn't collected, but the state legislature passed a fix that reinstated the tax, but required that cities put it before voters or it would go away a second time.
Voters in Carthage rejected the renewal of the use tax in November 2013 by a vote of 268 no to 203 yes.
The measure was also rejected by voters county-wide by a margin of 2,832 no to 1,286 yes.
At that time the tax was scheduled to expire in November 2016, but state lawmakers passed an extension which now gives cities until November 2018 to get voters to approve the tax.
City officials said local auto dealers and other businesses would suffer if voters don't extend the tax because the purchase of those items out of state would be cheaper than in Carthage.
Short said the issue affects businesses in this area more than in other places because of Carthage's proximity to three other states.
Short said the city plans to work with the Carthage Chamber of Commerce to get information to voters about the issue prior to the August 2017 election.

In other business
The council tabled approval of a bid to purchase new lights and light poles for Central Park after one council member brought forward evidence that the cooler, 4,000 kelvin lights recommended by the Council's Public Services Committee could be more harmful than warmer, 3,000-kelvin lights.
Council Member Brady Beckham, the chairman of the Public Services Committee, brought up this information and was the sole no vote in a 2-1 decision by the committee to recommend the council purchase the lights.
After making the motion to approve the committee's recommendation, Beckham then asked the council to table it and send it back to the Public Services Committee to give him another chance to present his evidence in support of the warmer light.
The proposal was to purchase light poles exactly like those installed last summer on the inside of the Carthage Square around the courthouse, and install them to improve lighting in Central Park.
The lights on the Square are the 4,000 kelvin lights, called a cool white.
Beckham argued that the 3,000 kelvin lights, called a warmer light with more yellow in them, are healthier for the city's population in the long run.
Beckham argued the cooler lights interfere with people's sleep habits by exposing them to bluer lights, which he said studies have shown to suppress production of melatonin, a sleep-related hormone in people.
Daugherty argued that the cooler lights will light the park more effectively and no one is sleeping in the park.
The cost of the lights and poles, $38,112, would not change with either kind of lights.
The city budgeted $40,000 for this project in its 2016-2017 budget.

Fair Acres equipment
The Council approved a public services recommendation to buy new exercise equipment for the Fair Acres Walking Trail at a cost of $19,871.01 from Cunningham Recreation from North Carolina.
It also approved purchasing rubber mulch from Custom Play Systems to place around the exercise equipment for $8,505.
This equipment would replace equipment that was installed in the 1990s when the trail was first built. The current equipment is worn out and the new plan calls for the new equipment to be installed in one concentrated area near the Fair Acres Family Y instead of dispersed in stations along the walking track like the current equipment.
The city had budgeted $35,000 for the purchase.