May 9, 2013 | Vol. 39, No. 19

Tax-Free Day costs Borough too much

Resolution 2013-14 declaring May 11, 2013 as a sales tax-free day for the Petersburg Borough died due to a lack of a motion during the Petersburg Borough Assembly regular meeting Monday afternoon.

“These tax free days cost the borough about $28,000 in lost tax revenue,” Petersburg Borough Assembly member Sue Flint said. “I would like to know if this is really a boon for retail sales? Is it really making a difference on Main Street?”

A representative of the Petersburg Chamber of Commerce Retail Committee, Savann Guthrie stated that there have only been two tax free days and would like the Assembly to give it another year to see what the comparisons are.

Petersburg Chamber of Commerce board member, Ron Loesch asked if the $28,000 was for both tax free days that have already occurred.

“That amount is for the last two days,” Petersburg Borough Finance Director Jody Tow stated. “We already have a projected revenue shortfall of about $35,000 and we are taking this under consideration for the future of this program.”

The opportunity to have two tax free days per year was approved by the voters in October, but it is still at the pleasure of the Petersburg Borough Assembly.

“Here is the way I look at this,” Flint stated. “The tax payers did approve this at our pleasure because it was such a good thing in Wrangell, but Wrangell doesn't have 408 citizens who have a tax free day every day. We are getting a double whammy, we have 408 seniors that don't pay tax and then we lost $28,000 because you guys want to have a little extra sale.”

Flint explained that she didn't feel the Borough could afford it because the budget is so tight.

“This would be like throwing $28,000 away,” she stated. “I don't see the advantage of it and I really don't think it helps the businesses very much.”

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