A special sales tax may require a special sign in Lawrence.
City commissioners at a study session Monday debated the idea of requiring businesses located in special taxing districts to post a sign on their doors notifying consumers that a higher than normal sales tax is charged.
“I’m concerned about being forthright,” said City Commissioner Mike Dever, who said he had heard from residents who believe the new taxing districts are not transparent enough. “Honesty is usually your best policy in anything.”
The new taxing districts, called Community Improvement Districts, may become more prevalent in Lawrence after state legislators in 2009 gave communities the option of establishing the districts. A CID allows for an additional 2 percent in sales tax to be charged on sales made within a district. The extra taxes can be used to pay for both public and private development costs and some private operating expenses.
Commissioners did not take any action on the sign idea. Instead, commissioners agreed to revisit the subject in about two weeks. But the idea did spark some concerns, in part, because staff members said they knew of no other community that required on-site notification of the special sales taxes.
“Since no other community has done it, it puts us back in that box of Lawrence being different or maybe unfriendly or hard to work with,” said Beth Johnson, vice president of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce.
Staff members said adding a list of the special taxing districts to the city’s website could be done.