Crestwood Board of Aldermen decides to keep city tax free in first weekend of August

By BURKE WASSON

While many St. Louis area cities have dropped out of this year’s state sales-tax holiday in August, the city of Crestwood has decided to take part in this year’s three-day tax break.

The Crestwood Board of Aldermen unanimously voted 6-0 on June 13 against opting out of this year’s sales-tax holiday. Ward 4 Aldermen Steve Nieder and Pat Duwe were absent from the meeting. The deadline to notify the state of Missouri was Tuesday — 45 days before the Aug. 4-Aug. 6 tax break begins.

The state sales-tax holiday does not include all sales. Customers will be limited to not having to pay Crestwood’s 1.5-percent share of sales tax on clothing and shoes priced less than $100 per item, school supplies priced less than $50 per purchase, computer software priced less than $200 per item and computers and computer equipment priced less than $2,000 per item. The sales-tax holiday does not include restaurants.

But considering that nearby cities including Sunset Hills, Webster Groves, Fenton, Kirkwood, Rock Hill and St. Ann have decided not to take part in this year’s sales-tax break because of financial concerns, Crestwood aldermen see the break as an opportunity to stand out and pump some much-needed revenue into city businesses.

Ward 2 Alderman Jim Kelleher, who originally made the motion to opt out of the sales-tax holiday, said that through his aldermanic service to Crestwood’s Economic Development Commission, he saw that the tax break was needed. The commission unanimously voted June 5 to recommend to the board that the city stays in the tax holiday.

“I believe I was the alderman who may have introduced the ordinance to opt out,” Kelleher said. “But that was before I became the aldermanic liaison to the Economic Development Commission. And we had a spirited discussion about the holiday, and their recommendation was that we opt in — that it makes sense. The general reasoning is no one around us is opting in, so we might be able to take some economic advantage of that position and bring some people into our retail establishments and perhaps make some money as well.”

Crestwood’s Economic Development Specialist Ellen Dailey said that after talking with store managers at the Crestwood locations of Best Buy, Gordmans and Kohl’s, businesses very much look forward to the annual sales-tax holiday because of the extra revenue that they make.

She also added that managers at Gordmans and Kohl’s told her that managers of other stores in Missouri cities that are not participating in this year’s sales-tax holiday are disappointed.

Mary Knopp, the general manager of Crestwood’s Best Buy, told board members June 13 that her business and several others had already started advertising for the sales-tax holiday before they found out the board was considering taking it away this year.

“I had a whole spiel of reasons why to convince you not to opt out,” Knopp said.