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Bolivar voters will decide Proposition Public Safety on April 2

Bolivar, Missouri City Hall
City of Bolivar
Bolivar, Missouri City Hall

Voters in the Bolivar city limits will decide a ¾--cent sales tax increase for police and firefighters on April 2.

Proposition Public Safety is expected to generate around $2.1 million a year, if approved, and would sunset after 15 years.

Bolivar Mayor Chris Warwick made sure to point that out at a public hearing this week.

"This isn't an aspect that the city has done very often," he said. "I specifically have talked about sunsets in regards to taxes. It's important, I think, for us to recognize that the voters shouldn't be liable for an eternity."

After 15 years, the board could ask voters to extend the tax.

The revenue generated if Proposition Public Safety passes in April, will be dedicated to public safety and emergency preparedness.

Alderwoman Alexis Neal said at the hearing that, if the bill fails, there will be cuts, and it will be more difficult for officers and firefighters to do their jobs.

"And that's going to mean that some of the rough situations that they're in are not going to get better, and they're probably going to get worse," she said, "because, if you're working somewhere understaffed, and people get sick, and you have to cover a shift, and vehicles are not getting replaced, and you're working with, you know, stuff, like, nobody wants to stay, and we don't blame them, especially if we're not able to pay them as competitively as some other departments or even retail establishments in town."

A citizens committee met last fall and recommended the city ask voters for the sales tax increase for public safety to address a shortfall in the city budget.

Currently, the Bolivar Police Department is funded out of the city’s general fund. The fire department is partially funded by a quarter-cent dedicated sales tax but is also supplemented out of the general fund.

Board members said, if the sales tax fails, they might have to implement a property tax, approved by voters years ago but whose rate has been consistently set at zero.

No one spoke against the measure at the public hearing, but one resident questioned board members about it.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.