Summer 2020 Edition
First of all, I want to thank our City Administrator, Mike Geisel, for giving us his insight and perspective on how our city is dealing with and responding to COVID-19. Please read it in its entirety if you have not already.
The hard decisions that have recently been made, including furlough of employees, non-opening of family aquatic center, and cancellation of 4th of July Celebration, have not been made lightly. Staff brought forward these recommendations based on not only financial considerations, but health and safety, as well as liability concerns. We really do pride ourselves on the services our city is able to provide, so it is very disappointing that health concerns and financial realities seem to force our decisions.
Most municipalities in St. Louis County are heavily reliant on sales taxes as a source of revenue to fund city operations/services. Chesterfield is not alone in this environment. Generally speaking, these revenues are not received until two months after they are generated: Therefore, at this point, we are relying on projections as to the magnitude of the revenue shortfalls. I expect that on a percentage basis, most cities will be affected similarly and significantly. I will say that I believe our staff (as well as the majority of our elected body) has made excellent recommendations in dealing with the pandemic on a short term basis, while preserving the city’s long term goals.
We still need Wayfair Legislation
At this writing, the Missouri Legislature has not successfully dealt with the need for an internet sales/use tax to benefit state and local government revenues. Missouri is one of two states that has not passed this badly-needed legislation that would tend to balance the playing field between local brick and mortar stores versus on-line retailers, but more importantly, restore revenue to state and local government. These revenues are needed to pay for services that are provided (i.e., public safety, parks, public works, etc.). Over time, it is conservatively estimated that greater that 15% of sales tax revenues have been eroded by on-line sales that have not been subject to the applicable tax. The need for this tax is accentuated by COVID-19 economic impact.
If this legislation is not passed in the regular session, it is contemplated that the Governor may call a special session this summer to deal with this issue. Please consider e-mailing or otherwise contacting Senators Dave Schatz, Andrew Koenig, and Jill Schupp, and Representatives Dean Plocher, Bruce DeGroot, Derek Grier, Paula Brown, and Tracy McCreery to indicate your strong support for this legislation. The message is simple; we need Wayfair Legislation without offsets, and no cable franchise fee reductions. They will know what this means. Thanks for your help in this matter!
Better Brighter Days Ahead!
In spite of the uncertainties of our future, I am optimistic and even confident, that we as a community will “get through this together” and there are better days ahead. As I write this, just today it was announced that the businesses can begin to re-open on May 18. The city of Chesterfield will do all we can to facilitate and expedite the re-opening process of our business community, and in fact has passed an ordinance that provides specifics.
My hope is that you will comply with safety guidelines and stay well!
God Bless, Sincerely,
Mayor Bob Nation