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HOG rally sales tax numbers are a mixed bag

by Mark Vasto
Landmark reporter

The numbers are in.
Asking the board of aldermen to consider various factors, Platte City Administrator Keith Moody presented mixed sales tax results from last September’s Harley Owners Group (HOG) “End of the Trail” party.

In all, the numbers compiled by Moody from information supplied by the state, showed that while sales tax revenues have continued to rise at generally consistent rates for Platte City, collected sales tax revenue at sit-down restaurants — a key statistical category when gauging HOG rally results, according to Moody — actually fell during the period. Sales tax revenues as a whole dropped nearly 6 percent from the previous year.

Platte City’s overall sales taxes for Sept. 2003 were up a little more than 6 percent over the previous year but down nearly 8 percent for the sit-down restaurant category. Fast food restaurant sales taxes rose around 10 percent in September.

Moody said the numbers might not be an accurate reflection of actual sales tax activity for the month. Moody explained that sales tax numbers are reported quarterly and there could be inconsistencies in monthly reporting by businesses. He also asserted that numbers were down for the sit-down category because of delinquent payments.

“We have two businesses still delinquent in payment,” Moody said. “(That) can have a serious impact on sales tax trends.”

Moody said the delinquent taxes were hard to recoup because the state was unmotivated to collect on small amounts due and that such delinquencies usually meant the business had ceased to operate.

Alderman Bill Knighton asked Moody if the city had the right to pull business licenses in such instances and Moody indicated that the city could do so.

Mayor Dave Brooks, a major proponent of the party, cautioned the aldermen to infer too much from statistics, saying that he had spoken with a restaurant owner who claimed it was one of their best nights of business for the year.

The mayor has repeatedly expressed interest in having the city host a similar event every fall. He has informally asked aldermen for their support in helping him pursue the idea and has appointed Alderman George McClintock to take on the role of event coordinator for the city.

McClintock told The Landmark that he didn’t have any feelings one way or the other on the reported sales tax results.

“I would have liked to have seen more specific numbers but unfortunately the reports don’t come out that way,” McClintock said.

McClintock said that the city has approached Harley Davidson about holding another event, but thinks the city may be changing its focus from biker rallies. The HOG event coordinators have already informed Brooks that they plan on holding their end of trail event elsewhere for at least the next decade.

“I’m kind of thinking that we’re going to have a fall festival and (the bikers) will add to that, rather than us adding onto (their plans),” McClintock.


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