The City of Parkville is proposing a half cent sales tax for public safety.
At a meeting set for Tuesday night as The Landmark was heading to press, the first reading of an ordinance to authorize a ballot question to authorize the sales tax was being taken up by the Parkville Board of Aldermen.
If placed on the ballot and approved by voters at an election scheduled for April 4, revenue from the half cent sales tax would be used to improve the public safety of the city, including but not limited to “police positions, salaries, benefits and related expenditures on police facilities and equipment,” city officials say in a policy report.
A second reading of the ordinance is scheduled for the Dec. 6 meeting of the aldermen, according to a city policy report prepared by Melissa McChesney, city clerk, and reviewed by Alexa Barton, city administrator.
The proposal would need only simple majority approval by voters.
According to city documents, if approved the tax would become effective on the first day of the calendar quarter that begins at least 45 days after the state receives notice of adoption of the sales tax.
“Last year the city authorized additional police officer positions and raised their salaries to be comparable with neighboring communities. Unfortunately we have spent most of this year with five unfilled police officer positions because it is so difficult to find good officers,” Mayor Dean Katerndahl told The Landmark this week.
“If we had been able to fill all five of the positions all of last year we would have run the city in the red. We anticipate filling all of the positions and raising salaries and cannot do that for our officers without new revenue,” the mayor said.
Katerndahl said the public safety sales tax can be used only on public safety related expenses and a separate fund is required in order to account for those dollars.
The question would appear as “Proposition P” on the April ballot.