Bethany Council Approves Local Use Tax Proposal For November Ballot

Bethany’s Board of Aldermen agreed to place a local use tax issue on the November 3rd ballot. The action was taken at a meeting held on Monday night.

The city plans to present a proposal for certification with the Harrison County Clerk that would place a use tax of 1.875 percent in effect on purchases made from out-of-state vendors from purchasers that exceed two thousand dollars in any calendar year. The use tax would always be adjusted to match the local sales tax rate that is paid by “brick-and-mortar” retailers in Bethany.

The city is planning on providing more information regarding self-reporting requirements for purchasers of online goods. The city has received feedback from voters of past local use tax ballot issues that failed. In those failures, the feedback pointed to the self-reporting requirements as drawbacks. The city has requested State Representative J Eggleston to help in developing information that can be shared and considered by voters regarding the issue in the November election.

Bethany’s Council also approved their 2020 tax levy following a public hearing. Bethany’s tax levy will be $0.86 per hundred dollars of assessed valuation. That is the same levy as last year. The general fund will receive $0.55. The road fund will receive $0.31.

Bethany’s Council also approved Jim LeRette to the Public Housing Authority for a full term. That term would be through March of 2024.

Bethany’s Board of Aldermen received an audit review from the auditor now contracted by the city during Monday night’s meeting. The audit was considered “clean”. The fund balances were also presented.

The audit review contained recommendations of the auditor and the responses of the city of certain concerns identified in the audit. Those recommendations included ending holiday cash bonuses, filing W-9 forms, eliminating interfund loans, and providing more transactions’ oversight. One of the ordinances approved Monday night was one of the recommendations of the auditor. That ordinance adopted a fixed asset capitalization policy for the assets of the city of Bethany.

The city received a request to purchase the swan fountain recently vandalized at Memorial Park. The city council would like the swan fountain placed back in the park. Councilman Randy Mann also suggested in the discussion of the matter that it may be time to consider the installation of cameras at and around the park as a deterrent to vandalism or theft.

Council members also agreed to provide 15 days of paid military leave for employees deployed for military service at the meeting.