Mayor changes mind on police tax
UPDATE: 8-14-13, 5:35 p.m.
Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid has changed his mind about a tax proposal to pay for more police officers.
McDavid said a lack of support from the community and the Columbia Police Officersâ?? Association forced him to withdraw the idea.
Last week, McDavid proposed a 20-cent property tax increase that would generate $3.5 million a year for more officers. Even though there is very little support for the idea, McDavid said itâ??s not dead on arrival.
McDavid said, â??Itâ??s possible the city council could vote 6 to 1 to go ahead and put it on the ballot for November. Thatâ??s possible. If that happens, weâ??ll see what the vote is.â??
Councilman Karl Skala said the decision to pay for more police officers should go to a vote of the people and not be decided by the council whether itâ??s a property tax, sales tax or impact fee proposal.
Skala said, â??I support the public input on a referendum to determine what the outcome of the solution is going to be.â??
Members of the Columbia Police Officersâ?? Association said city leaders already have enough money to pay for 36 new officers if they use $1.9 million in savings from a new 911 tax and reduce overtime pay for officers.
CPOA Executive Director Dale Roberts said, â??$1.9 million will appear to fund 19 full-time officers. Those 19 officers combined with 17 officers funded by the overtime we are already spending gives us 36 officers. Our work is done.â??
With several options floating around, McDavid said finding $100,000 a year for each additional police officers is difficult as his city faces a tight budget. He invites anyone to send their solution to city hall and heâ??ll be more than happy to listen.
City Manager Mike Matthes is recommending 3 additional police officers in next yearâ??s Columbia city budget that takes effect on October 1.
Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid supports the idea of hiring more police officers, but has changed his mind about a tax proposal to pay for the new positions.
McDavid said a lack of support for the property tax from the community and the Columbia Police Officerâ??s Association forced him to withdraw the idea.
Last week, McDavid proposed a 20 cent property tax increase that would generate $3.5 million for more officers.
McDavid said he was just one vote and city council members could still decide to put the proposal on an upcoming ballot.
Dale Roberts, Executive Director of the Columbia Police Officers' Association has said reducing overtime in the current force will free up money to make the new hires.
KRCG's Mark Slavit will have more on this story on KRCG News at 5 & 6.