Shoppers in the Petersburg borough will have two more days this year when local businesses will not be collecting borough sales tax.

Petersburg’s borough assembly Monday approved two days without the local six percent tax on purchases. The days are May 2nd and October 3rd and were requested by the Chamber of Commerce.
Local business representative Kate Kowalski of Petersburg Rexall Drug urged the assembly to approve the tax free days. “I think it’s good for the community,” Kowalski said. “I think it really brings a lot of business into our stores. I like the idea that we can maybe find some dates that people can actually work around and plan and keep those dollars here.”
The assembly has the choice of setting two tax free days every year, an option approved by voters in 2011. And for the past three years the assembly has OK’d tax holidays twice a year, except for the spring of 2013. Borough staffers say the two tax free days last year meant over 18,000 dollars in revenue the borough did not collect on sales.

Borough manager Steve Giesbrecht responded to a question about whether the borough could afford the tax free days. “This is obviously one of those things in future years we may have to take a hard look at,” Giesbrecht said. “But I know the business folks here in town, I know the people who live here appreciate it. Next year’s budget’s balanced. The year after that I just don’t know what’s gonna happen.”

Assembly members were supportive of the tax holidays again this year. Jeigh Stanton Gregor said it made a lot of financial sense. “Because we’re spending discretionary money locally which then gets re-invested in the community which means I really don’t think we’re losing any money. I think if anything I think it gets people spending more because I don’t have to pay sales tax. And therefore if I’m at a local business person who’s spending money on, they’ll reinvest it and we keep it. I think it’s a great idea and I hope we vote to keep it.”

The vote was unanimous for tax free days this spring and fall.