Informational meetings on “use tax” continue to be held

Sealed bids will be accepted on March 25 to outfit two new vehicles from the Ozark County Sheriff’s Department for police use, according to the Ozark County commissioners Monday. 

The 2020 and 2018 Chevy Tahoe pursuit package vehicles were purchased in early February, according to OCSD Administrative Assistant Curtis Ledbetter. “We shopped around forever, and there was just nothing newer than 2020 that wasn’t outrageous.”

One Tahoe will replace the 2018 K9 truck that was wrecked during a vehicle pursuit, and one will be used as a reserve truck, said Ledbetter. Anyone interested in submitting a bid for outfitting the new trucks can speak with Ledbetter by calling the OCSD at 417-679-4633. The vehicles were purchased by the county using ARPA funds and not purchased from the OCSD budget.

Information meetings on the proposed “use tax” on the April 2 General Municipal Election ballot are continuing to be held in communities around the county. 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, organizers say.

The “use tax” is a sales tax on products purchased online or from a catalog. This “use tax” only applies to online or catalog  purchases and is already being charged in most cases, Ozark County officials say. It is not an additional tax. 

Currently, Ozark County is one of the few Missouri counties that does not have a “use tax” provision. 

A meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Pontiac Price Place fire department. Other meetings will be at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 19, at the Missouri University Extension office just off the Gainesville square and at noon, Thursday, March 21, at the Gainesville Lion’s Club. During the final week before the April 2 election, meetings will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, March 25 at the Bakersfield School and at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 28, at the Ozark County Courthouse in Gainesville. A meeting that was held in Dora will be rescheduled. 

“These meetings are purely informational,” said Presiding Commissioner Terry Newton.

The commissioners continue to stress that this tax is already being collected in many instances, but the county cannot access the funds due to state law. The state of Missouri collects the tax and is responsible for distributing the funds to county’s whose citizens have voted that the county can now collect the tax. 

“We would love to find out how much the state has collected that we have just missed out on completely,” said Newton. “We just can’t get that info [from the state].”

“It sits three years in the unclaimed property [fund], that’s what we understand,” said Western Commissioner Layne Nance. 

“Then it goes in the state’s revenues,” added Newton. “But the thing is, it can’t ever be claimed. Period. It’s lost. Because we never had [the use tax] in place and we can’t make it retroactive to go back and get that money. So everything prior to the date we chose that’s been collected will eventually go into state’s revenues.”

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

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