Columbia will address potential loss of sales tax revenue

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COLUMBIA - Online shopping can be enjoyed at work or in the comfort of your own home, but it might be hurting Columbia.

On Monday, Columbia City Council will decide whether to hire the consulting firm, Retail Strategies, to figure out how much local revenue the city is losing. 

The company would have access to data from credit card transactions, specifically zip codes. It will then calculate the lost sales tax revenue. Afterwards, the firm would create a strategy to promote the downtown district and the rest of Columbia to national companies. 

KOMU 8 News spoke with Deputy City Manager Tony St. Romaine said the city has a $72 million budget and 27 percent of that number is from sales tax revenue.

"We need to figure out how many sales tax dollars are leaving Columbia for bigger cities like Kansas City or St. Louis," Romain said.

One resident said the firm would bring more opportunities to local businesses. 

"I believe that this could bring more awareness to the businesses here, especially the newer ones," Micheal Strengier said. "By promoting these businesses, we can continue to grow as community."

If the proposal is passed it would cost the city $48,000 the first year the firm develops the data and $26,000 for each additional year.