The Rolla City Council accepted the special election results for the local use tax and held the final reading of an ordinance to enact the use tax equivalent to the city's sales tax rate of 2.25 percent.

Rolla City Councilmembers officially accepted the Nov. 5 election results for the local use tax at the council’s November meeting after the initiative passed in all of Rolla’s six wards.

City Administrator John Butz said at the council's December meeting that the next action was for the council to pass an ordinance to amend Chapter 37 of the Rolla City Code to enact the local use tax.

Once the city council enacts the use tax, it will go into effect on April 1, 2020. The city has to notify the Department of Revenue, and the ordinance will codify that. The first collection of the use tax will not get to the city until June 2020, Butz said.

“Someone raised the question at the last meeting and noted it properly, that while we have the fully fund public safety in the title of the ordinance we didn’t use it in the codification specifically, so the red you see in there is being added for the final reading, so the codification of the ordinance makes it clear what the intent of the voters was at the time,” Butz said.

The council accepted the motion for the amended version of the ordinance to read “that effective April 1, 2020 there shall be a local use tax at the same rate as the total local sales tax rate to fully fund safety needs with any additional funds being applied to other general funds.” The city council then passed the ordinance during its final reading in an 11-0 vote to enact the local use tax.

Butz said city staff would then develop a phased approach to fund public safety needs focusing on competitive wages and radio equipment subject to council ratification in the next 45-60 days.

Mayor Louis Magdits noted that staff plans to have a rough plan on how the money collected from the use tax will be spent at the city council’s Dec. 16 meeting.

Voters in Rolla approved the use tax at a 55 percent to 45 percent margin, while voter turnout was 14.5 percent.