Area leaders hold informative presentation: Proposition Public Safety for Safer Joplin at Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce

Proposition Public Safety will appear on the ballot before the public on August 2, 2022

JOPLIN, Mo. – The Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce held an informative presentation with area leaders sharing their different areas of expertise.  Joplin Police, Joplin Fire, Joplin Fire Union (Local 59) and the Fraternal Order of Police. All working together as they say, for a ‘Safer Joplin‘.

What is Proposition Public Safety?

Proposition Public Safety is a proposed property tax that will fund the necessary improvements needed to fix the Public Safety crisis that our community is facing right now.  The proposed property tax will levy a $1 tax per $100 of ASSESSED value for real estate and personal property.

How will this money be used?

The funds gathered through this proposed property tax will be used as an investment in public safety and as a commitment to strengthen our community and secure our future.

Listed below are the main issues Proposition Public Safety is trying to solve.

  • Hiring 22 new police officers and the necessary supporting staff.

  • Hiring 18 new firefighters and a Deputy Fire Marshall.

  • Building a new, centrally located, fire station and the purchase of an additional fire truck.

  • Offering competitive salary increases for Joplin police officers and firefighters with a guaranteed 5-year salary contract, contingent on the passing of the proposition on August 2nd.

  • Providing an option for Tier 1 veteran police and firefighters to continue working at their current rank and salary as a rehired employee on LAGERS (Local Government Employees Retirement System).

  • Improving employee recruitment within the police and fire departments by offering competitive salary scaling.

  • Keeping experienced police officers and firefighters in Joplin with improved benefits.

  • Tax money collected CANNOT be used for special interest projects and MUST be used for Public Safety.

MORE THAN 300 POLICE OFFICERS AND FIREFIGHTERS HAVE LEFT JOPLIN SINCE 2012. WE CANNOT AFFORD TO LOSE ANY MORE. YOUR SAFETY DEPENDS ON THIS PLAN

What about Proposition B?

Proposition B is working to fund the transfer of public safety staff to LAGERS and improve the funding status of the closed Police and Fire Retirement Plan. It will sunset in 12 years or at 120% funding. The most recent independent actuarial evaluation shows that the plan is ahead of the 12-year plan. The tax money is not being used for other purposes.

Proposition B was never designed to be the solution to all of our current public safety needs. The funds freed up were not pledged to anything specific. Public safety did receive a 9% salary increase. A statewide minimum wage increase, COVID, and rising competitive wages led to pay increases for all departments. All the funds freed up ($1.7 million) would not have solved our problems today (need $9 million).

What about the Public Safety Sales Tax we already have?

The half-cent Public Safety Sales Tax was designed in 2005 to fund additional police and firefighters (already hired), a new 100-foot ladder truck, personnel, and fire trucks for Fire Stations #6 (built in 2012) and #7 (to be completed in 2022), as well as the Public Safety Training Center (built in 2015) and street lights for strategic locations. Once the projects are all completed, the fund will continue to provide maintenance, operations, and replacements when needed. It cannot be increased and used for other projects. Public safety is expensive, and the needs have outpaced our current revenue.

Why don’t we use a sales tax?

Joplin’s sales tax is already one of the highest in the region and sales taxes are not a reliable and stable revenue source for public safety. Sales tax growth has been flat and there has been no significant increase to fund the $9 million needed.

Why do we need a property tax?

All of the cities and counties we are competing with for quality public safety personnel are using sales and property tax to recruit and hire police and firefighters. Joplin cannot offer higher competitive salaries and benefits to recruit and retain police and firefighters.

What does it cost the taxpayer?

Costs will be based on the assessed value, not the market value. Residents will pay $1 per $100 of assessed value. For a home assessed at $150,000, it would be $285 annually; for a $30,000 vehicle, it would be $100 annually for a total of $385 annually or $32.08 a month.

What about those with a low, fixed income?

The Missouri Property Tax Credit Claim gives credit to certain senior citizens and 100 percent disabled individuals for a portion of the real estate taxes or rent they have paid for the year.

Why can’t the Use Tax fund these projects?

The Use Tax is used at the same rates as regular sales tax for public safety, a half-cent. It is estimated to bring in $592,000 annually. These funds will be used for police and fire expenses.

What happens if this doesn’t pass?

We believe the community will see an increase in our experienced police and firefighters leaving for higher-paying jobs with no way to fill the positions they leave. Crime will increase and, it will take more time to get help to those in need. We are already operating at dangerously low staffing because we cannot recruit and retain with our current salaries and workloads.

Information provided by Fraternal Order of Police and Local 59. This is not a paid advertisement.  It is provided as information only.

Stay with Joplin News First as we continue to follow this thread, addressing a Safer Joplin.

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