Cape Girardeau city council to consider ordinance to ask voters for tax levy supporting police, firefighter salaries

City council members in Cape Girardeau will consider an ordinance to ask voters for a 25-cent tax levy to support police and firefighter salaries.
Published: Nov. 21, 2023 at 1:16 PM CST
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - City council members will consider an ordinance to ask voters for a 25-cent tax levy to support police officer and firefighter salaries.

Council members will discuss the proposed ordinance at their meeting on Monday, December 18 at 5 p.m. If passed by the final reading, the voters would decide in the April 2, 2024 election.

According to a release from the city, they’ll consider asking voters for the real estate and personal property tax rates closer to what other cities are already collecting. Under the proposed plan, police officers and firefighters would get an 8 percent pay increase in year one. Click here for more information on property tax rates.

Real estate and property tax general revenue already contributes more than $2 million to the general fund every year, according to the release, but its expenses are $30 million per year. Click here for more tax levy information.

The general fund accounts for the city’s police, fire, street and park maintenance, and other services. Utility services, recreation and other special funds are accounted for separately. Click here for more information on the city budget.

“I’m supportive of this plan because it’s a very stable way to strengthen our public safety forces,” Mayor Stacy Kinder said in the release, “and will better enable our Police and Fire departments to attract and retain the best officers possible.”

Several former mayors also voiced their support for the proposed ordinance.

“I remember our city attempts, during my years as mayor [2010-2018] to upgrade our public safety staff and salaries,” former mayor Harry Rediger said in a statement. “Our attempts were always limited due to available funds in general revenue.”

“We are falling farther behind in salary structure even after a recent substantial increase with the passage of our Use Tax proposal,” former mayor Bob Fox added. “We need to come up with more innovative ways to enhance these salaries, not only to keep our current personnel, but to attract new police officers and firefighters.”

“Cape Girardeau needs to send a message that violent crime will come with drastic and punitive repercussions and simply will not be tolerated,” former mayor Jay Knudtson said in his statement. “To implement this “Zero Tolerance” approach towards violent crime,” he said the community needs “… a coordinated city-wide effort whereby a targeted and restricted funding source is supported by our citizenry to support our dedicated men and women of public safety.”