Another Meeting, Another Tax in Pevely

12 May

Well, almost. In a baby step towards openness, Pevely has started posting bare-bones board of aldermen meeting agendas on the city website. On the May 6 agenda, we see two taxes listed. They were:

  • Reimpose 1/2 cent sales tax City Hall misc.
  • Reimpose 1/2 cent sales tax transportation

I am told that these taxes were not passed at the meeting, but were instead tabled for lack of information. That means that they will probably be back for consideration very soon.

The word “reimpose” is important here. I’m assuming that a “reimposition” means that the city can bypass the Hancock Amendment requirement of a public vote by claiming these taxes were already approved by voters. If this is true, city administrator Terry Thomas and his band of tax-happy alderman can implement this tax with a simple majority vote at an alderman meeting. This is what the city did with the gross receipts tax they recently passed. Since a 5% tax had been approved, and later lowered, they were able to raise it back up to 5% without resident approval.

In my recent post on local sales tax rates, I pointed out that Pevely’s current rate sits at 8.35%. If these two hikes are granted, my math indicates Pevely’s rate will jump to 9.35%, bring it into a tie for highest tax rate in the county with the Arnold Commons area. Pre-emptive congratulations to Pevely.

On another Pevely note, the JeffCo Tea Party, which has to its credit been keeping a close eye on the city, reports that “On April 24th the Pevely Alderman at their regular public meeting approached the idea of conducting the meeting without public comment.” The JCTP also reports that Alderman Steve Markus was the only one to vote in favor of this. I can understand this move. When all you do every meeting is raise taxes, the public comment portion of meetings has the potential to get quite rowdy. Best to avoid that unpleasantness. Pevely could merely do what Arnold does to short-circuit public comment – move controversial items ahead of the public comment portion of the agenda, or announce controversial items at the last minute, so people don’t know about them in enough time to raise objections.

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