Informational meetings on ‘use tax’ scheduled; measure will be before voters on April 2 ballot

Ozark County Commissioners will begin meeting with communities around the county next week regarding the proposed “internet use tax” measure, which will be on the April 2 General Municipal Election ballot.

The first community meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday, March 4, at the Theodosia Village Hall. 

Dora’s community meeting will be at 6 p.m. Monday, March 4,  in the Dora School cafeteria.

Thornfield’s meeting rounds out the week and will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 7, at the Thornfield School.

Meetings will be held later in the month at Wasola, Bakersfield, Pontiac, Gainesville and possibly other areas.

Commissioners encourage all county voters to attend a meeting being held in their community or in another community if they can’t attend theirs.

Presiding Commissioner Terry Newton said he wants to assure voters that the commissioners are not going to try and persuade voters at the meeting. “We are just presenting the facts at these meetings.”

The “use tax” is a measure that has been put on the ballot twice and voted down by Ozark County residents, many who falsely believe that the tax is on usage of internet.

The “use tax” is a sales tax on products purchased online or from a catalog. This “use tax” only applies to online purchases and is already being charged in most cases, Ozark County officials say. This is not an additional tax. Currently, Ozark County is one of the few Missouri counties that does not have a “use tax” provision. 

In January, the commissioners explained that the county is missing out on thousands of dollars that residents have already paid on their online purchases that can’t be collected by the county. And the lack of accessing the tax is having a detrimental effect on county finances.

“We’re getting pressure from our legislators to get [this tax] in place,” said Newton in January. “There are grants and funding that are available throughout the year that we can’t even apply for if we don’t have this in place. It’s one of the stipulations, and [if it is not passed] you can’t even apply for the grant...You’re out of the loop. So we’re missing out.

“There were three different things last year that I looked at that would have been helpful. For all three of them, that was one of the stipulations. I couldn’t even proceed with the application.

“It doesn’t affect everybody, but it will aid everybody in the county,” said Newton. “In most instances [the sales tax] is being charged already, but the state is holding it since we don’t have the use tax in place and we can’t collect it.

“It’s just getting what is already ours,” Newton said.

According to Newton, approval of this ballot initiative could bring the county more than $250,000 a year.


The Ozark County Commissioners hold their weekly meeting at 9 a.m. Mondays in the commission’s office on the upper level of the Ozark County Courthouse in Gainesville. 

The meetings are open to the public, and anyone is invited to attend as an observer or to discuss a topic. 

To contact the commissioners, leave a message on their office voice mail at 417-679-4096 or email

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423