Carson Ross understands the appeal of shopping online for items and having them delivered.
“It's convenient; I've done it,” the Blue Springs mayor said.
But the city misses out on local sales tax revenue, and all those trucks then use the city streets for deliveries.
“But those trucks aren't making are roads better; they're making them worse,” Ross said during his annual state of the city address, given Thursday at the Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon. “It's not helping your city when they do that.”
Ross, who faces three challengers as he runs for a fourth term as mayor in the upcoming April election, said he wants Blue Springs to pursue another attempt to get voter approval for a use tax – in essence a sales tax applied to online purchases from out-of-state companies.
If successful, Ross said that tax revenue would go toward streets and infrastructure – the most consistent concern he said citizens expressed in the most recent citizen survey. It would be crucial to keep Blue Springs, as he never misses a chance to say in speeches, “on the move and on the right track.”
“We can recoup that money that should already be coming to Blue Springs,” Ross said.
When Blue Springs first asked voters for the use tax in April 2018, officials estimated it would generate $400,000 annually. The use tax is applied at the same rate as the local sales tax, which is 2.5 cents in Blue Springs.
Blue Springs voters turned it down 53-47 percent. That same election, Independence voters said no by a 61.5-38.5 percent margin, but last summer that city went back to the voters with the same request – specifically earmarking funds for more police officers and the regional animal shelter – and received approval.
The mayor touted his address as “Celebrating success, but we ain't done yet,” and offered several high notes around the city from 2019, including: the large auto parts plant Faurecia in its first full year of operation, various business reinvestments through expansion or moving, the successful bond issue for the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District, continuing new home sales, continued parks improvement work and the completed City Hall expansion and renovation.
Such success, he said, “Just doesn't happen in a vacuum. It takes a lot of people working together.”