Purdy to put use tax on the ballot

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

City leaders hope to harness tax money from online purchases

Purdy voters will have an opportunity to vote on a new use tax for out-of-state purchases sent to Purdy residents.

According to Purdy City Council member Stacy VanNote, the proposed tax, if approved by voters, will not add a new tax to online purchases. Rather, she explained, the proposed use tax is already being collected on online purchases. The new tax proposal will allow the city of Purdy to collect its piece of the pie.

VanNote said the City is strapped for cash, and if it is unable to collect the 2 percent use tax, city leaders will have to evaluate some of its traditional programs, like the annual spring and autumn citywide clean-ups.

City leaders also updated Purdy’s ordinances regarding the sale of tobacco products to ensure it is in line with federal laws.

Until last week, Purdy’s city regulations prohibited the sale of tobacco to anyone under the age of 18.

On Dec. 20, 2019, President Donald Trump signed legislation amending the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and raising the federal minimum age for sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years.

Under the new Purdy ordinance, the city recognizes the federal law and prohibits the sale of tobacco to anyone under the age of 21 and anyone who violates the ordinance could be subjected to a fine of no more than $500.

Mayor Brian Bowers also presented two draft ordinances, one from the city of Wheaton and another tailored specifically to Purdy, regarding the use of all-terrain vehicles on city streets.

Bowers said he did not want to rush a decision on the ordinance, but urged the council to review the two proposals and return next month with ideas for how the city should regulate use of ATVs on city roads.

The proposed ordinance states that anyone who has been issued a valid drivers’ license issued by the state may be permitted to operate all-terrain vehicles within the city. However, anyone operating an ATV will be required to provide proof of financial responsibility for the vehicle.

The proposal also includes some protections for local waterways.

“No person shall operate an off-road vehicle within any stream or river in this state, except that off-road vehicles may be operated within waterways which flow within the boundaries of land which an off-road vehicle operator owns, or for agricultural purposes within the boundaries of land which an off-road vehicle operator owns or has permission to be upon, or for the purpose of fording such stream or river of this state at such road crossings as are customary or part of the highway system,” the proposed ordinance states.

The ordinance also prohibits ATV riders to operate the vehicle in “any careless way” or while under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance.

It also prohibits ATV drivers from carrying passengers unless for agricultural reasons.

VanNote said she does not have a problem with side-by-sides or other utility vehicles often used on farms being operated in town. “But I don’t see a need to be able to drive a four-wheeler through town,” she said.

The board members agreed to consider the proposed ordinances and return in January to discuss any changes or amendments they feel might be required.

“Drivers aren’t paying attention,” Council Member William Hughes said. “They’re on their phone, eating a sandwich or doing their makeup or whatever, and if you have a minivan verses an ATV, you have something critical.”

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