City of Columbia considers retail surveyors for sales tax revenue

Apr 21, 2014

The City of Columbia may hire a company to survey sales tax revenue within the retail economy of the city.

City Manager Mike Matthes recently met with the Regional Economic Development Inc., or REDI, to discuss how the city would assess gaps in sales tax revenue.

Credit File / KBIA

REDI spokesman Mike Brooks says many people leave Columbia to purchase their goods and services. He says online shopping also competes with the city’s retail sales tax revenue.

“People travel elsewhere to purchase their goods and services,” Brooks said. “We certainly understand that online retail is a competitor, but so is St. Louis and Kansas City and elsewhere.”

The surveyors would compare Columbia’s sales tax revenue with assessments of other college towns across the country to determine any gaps in the city’s retail marketplace.

Columbia City Development Manager Pat Zenner says the survey could help increase sales tax revenue which drives success in the community.

“If the survey identifies holes or deficiencies that our regulatory processes basically are creating, we need to look at it from that aspect,” Zenner said. “Then, how do we create an environment which is inviting to bring retail in or to fill a missing market.”

Brooks says the city will likely decide in the next few weeks whether it will conduct the survey and who it will hire to produce the survey.