CHARLESTON - Mississippi County commissioners will opt out of a "sales tax holiday" approved by the Missouri Legislature during the final days of its session.
Commissioners reviewed a legislative update from Dick Burke, executive director of the Missouri Association of Counties, during their regular meeting Thursday.
In his "MAC FAX," Burke identified four major issues MAC followed in the legislative session's final days, the first of which was Sen. Peter Kinder's Sales Tax Holiday Senate Bill 11 passed May 16.
As an emergency clause for the bill was defeated in the House, there will be no sales tax holiday until August 2004.
Counties will have from Aug. 28 until mid-July 2004 to opt-out of the tax holiday if they choose to do so.
"Why do they fiddle with (taxes) when the county is already hurting for money?" Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg wondered aloud.
County Clerk Junior DeLay said the county should contact the Department of Revenue if commissioners wish to opt out.
The other three bills Burke reported on appear to have little if any effect at all on Mississippi County.
The Ordinance-Making Authority bill, House Bill 267, was passed Friday, but a version that only applies only to first, second and fourth class counties. Mississippi County is a third class county.
Third class counties were not included due to opposition in the Senate, according to Burke. If third class counties were included, commissioners would have been give ordinance-making power for county roads; emergency management; nuisance abatement, excluding agricultural and horticultural property; stormwater control, excluding agricultural and horticultural property; promotion of economic development for job creation purposes; and parks and recreation.
The County Classification/County Crime Reduction Fund, Senate Bill 199, was passed changing assessed valuation limits for first class counties from $450 million to $600 million; and for second class counties from $300 million up to $450 million.
The bill also authorizes the creation of a "County Crime Reduction Fund" with the proceeds to be used solely for law enforcement services.
The fourth bill Burke reported on, Homestead Property Tax Exemption, House Bill 517, failed.
In other Mississippi County Commission business:
* The county will begin picking up prisoners from the Southeast Correctional Center to work in the county beginning June 1, according to Blumenberg.
The county will start out by using a group of four prisoners. "They've already got them picked out," said Blumenberg,
* Commissioners agreed to begin bidding out the contract to harvest hay at the county airport next season.
Blumenberg said the county should "get a little back" since the harvesters are making money off the hay bales each year.
* The purchase of a 25-foot flagpole for the Oak Grove Cemetery for $1,100 from a catalog company was authorized by commissioners. The pole is designed to fly 5-by-8 foot flags, Blumenberg said.
Commissioners also agreed to get three 5-by-8 flags as a part of the purchase, estimating the flags last about four months each.
* Commissioners agreed to set the county's policy so that part-time employees are not issued keys to the courthouse
* A letter from Caring Communities was reviewed by commissioners thanking the commission for its support for a Workforce Investment Board Grant.
* Commissioner Homer Oliver reported on the conditions of the roads in his half of the county, noting many of them just need patching and sealing oil.
Blumenberg also suggested Johnson grass spraying should begin next week.