NEW MADRID -- New Madrid city residents are being asked to increase their local sales tax. In return, city officials are offering to eliminate the city's property tax.
The New Madrid City Council unanimously approved an ordinance calling for a Nov. 8 election on two dedicated sales tax proposals raising the city's sales tax rate an additional 1 percent. One proposal calls for a half-cent sales tax with the revenue dedicated to storm water and parks; the second proposed half-cent sales tax would be used strictly for transportation purposes.
If approved, this would bring the city's total sales tax to 2.5 percent or 2.5 cents per $1 spent in local purchases. Currently, the City has a 1 percent general revenue sales tax and a half-cent capital improvements sales tax passed in 2000 to finance a storm water bond issue.
City officials said if the two sales tax proposals are approved, the Council would eliminate the current additional general revenue property tax of 21.82 cents per $100 of assessed valuation on all taxable real estate and personal property in the city. This would reduce home owners' and commercial businesses' real estate taxes and reduce taxes on citizens personal property such as vehicles, trucks and farm equipment, said City Administrator John Gilbert.
"The objective is to spread the cost of maintaining these services to everyone who uses them, not just the property owners," said Gilbert.
City officials emphasized both taxes must be approved if the property tax is to be rescinded.
New Madrid Mayor Donnie Brown said he is encouraging voters to look closely at the proposals and ask either him or their Council representative about any questions or concerns. He suggested residents could visit City Hall to see just what their savings would be if the property tax is dropped.
"We really think it is lot more fair to everybody in town. We don't think an increase in property tax is the right way, and the sales tax is spread among all citizens and the people who visit our town," said Brown. "We need the extra revenue to get the things we need done, done."
For the full story see the Aug. 25 Standard Democrat