The Harrisonville Board of Aldermen has approved an ordinance to try to help businesses stay open if they’re delinquent in paying their sales tax to the state.
City Attorney Steve Mauer presented an ordinance to the BOA during their Nov. 4 meeting which would allow a local business to remain open if the owner makes an appeal to aldermen during a regular BOA meeting and they approve the request.
According to City Manager Keith Moody, Mayor Kevin Wood and Ward 1 Alderman Doug Meyer have inquired as to what options were available to the city when the state asks the city to shut down a business that is delinquent in paying their taxes by revoking their city-issued business license.
Under the proposed appeal process, the business owner would be asked to share what steps they are making to pay the taxes owed and could be granted up to 90 days to pay their state taxes.
Mauer said he believes the appeal process complies with state law, and is similar to a procedure the city of Raymore has adopted.
“It is not required that you have a business license in a city in order to collect sales tax. They’re really kind of independent, but because they’re not getting the sales tax, the state wants the city to come in and shut them down,” Mauer said.
Moody said the issue came to light recently when a business owner who owns stores in both Raymore and Harrisonville was delinquent in paying his sales taxes at both locations.
“He was able to keep his business open in Raymore because they had adopted a similar policy,” Moody said. “The problem is, with our procedure, the only thing we can do is immediately shut them down.”
When the city is asked to revoke a business license, Moody said it takes away from the owner’s ability to explain why they may be delinquent – whether it be the state’s paperwork was inaccurate, or if an issue, such as an employee theft, had occurred.
“We’re simply trying to establish a procedure where it can get remitted by coming to the board and explaining why,” Moody said. “If we can hear a logical appeal, I think the policy has merit.”
Wood voiced support for the issue, saying it would help businesses stay in Harrisonville.
“By no means I’m saying that not paying your sales tax is a good thing,” Wood said. “But once you close those doors, they lose their bonds, and they lose other things. It compounds the issue.”
Whether an individual files an appeal or not, the state would still revoke the state-issued business license.
“We don’t really have any control over that, we’re just saying we’ll let you operate with a city business license if you don’t have a state sales tax license to do that,” Finance Director Mike Tholen said. “If the state wants to do something differently, they could. We’re just postponing enforcement of our city ordinance.”
Commissioners approved the ordinance 7-0. Ward 1 Alderman Stacey Dahlman was absent from the meeting.
In other meeting business, the BOA took the following actions:
Presented a service award to Doug Rose for 15 years of loyal service to the Harrisonville Police Department.
Approved an updated emergency operations plan for the city of Harrisonville.
Approved a first reading of an ordinance outlining new board procedures by a vote of 6-1.
City Clerk Kim Hubbard said there have been questions regarding the city’s policy of suspending the rules and moving an ordinance to a second reading.
City code states that an ordinance needs to be read twice prior to passage and that both readings may occur at a single meeting. The practice of requiring a unanimous vote to move to the second reading is not required by code or state law.
Ward 3 Alderman Bret Reece requested a policy be drafted that allows the second reading of an ordinance at the same meeting if a majority of the elected officials vote to do so.
Heard a presentation from City Administrator Keith Moody on 2012 Performance Measures in the area of Police, Fire and Ambulance.
The city’s goal is to have 90 percent of the performance measures to be better than average.
Of the 15 performance measures included in Part 3, Harrisonville had 14 categories that were better than average, or 93 percent. In 2011, the city was at 81 percent.