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Community Views Split on Upcoming Tax Vote

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/communityv_5453.mp3

Voters in Greene County will head to the polls next Tuesday to decide whether to increase the local sales tax to help fund the police and fire pension system. KSMU's Chasity Mayes reports.

I’m Chasity Mayes and I spoke with Springfield Co-Interim Fire Chief David Hall about the challenges that the community would face if the plan to increase taxes doesn’t pass.

Hall spoke candidly about the ways the fire department would have to cut back, saying that pension plans would basically stay the same: it would be the community that suffered due to the lack of funding to hire more fire fighters and police officers.

Currently, over a dozen fire fighter positions are vacant, as are over two dozen police positions due to a city-wide hiring freeze. The fire department has said it's had to make several cutbacks already due to the shortage.

Some citizens in Springfield do not support the upcoming tax increase. Rita Huntoon is one of them. But she says it’s not that police and fire fighters don’t deserve the funding, she just wishes it would come from somewhere besides her own pocketbook.

The election is Tuesday.

For KSMU News, I’m Chasity Mayes.