Vote yes on sales tax proposal on Tuesday

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Sikeston voters will go to the polls Tuesday to decide the fate of a half-cent sales tax proposal to increase funding for Public Safety, for the park system and for street improvements.

The much-needed increase will help to bring Public Safety salaries in line with other area law enforcement agencies and stop the migration of highly-trained officers from our community.

Revenue from the sales tax will also provide funding for our park system that has fallen behind in maintenance and upgrades.

And, finally, the sales tax revenue will bring substantial improvements to our street and drainage system.

Sikeston voters over a decade ago approved overwhelmingly a sales tax to help fund Public Safety and address other community needs and obligations.

The problem is that the growth in retail sales projected in that proposal never materialized. A faltering economy hit our community as well as the nation and ultimately the sales tax provided flat revenues - not the growth that was expected.

Today, Public Safety officials are struggling to remain competitive with other regional law enforcement agencies which are offering $5,000-$10,000 more for officers than the salary scale here.

The first promise of any community is to provide a safe environment for its residents. But without trained and equipped officers, crime will increase and our ability to address this major issue will be an uphill battle.

The financial impact of this proposed tax is minimal for residents here. The best example is that on a $100 grocery purchase, the added cost is 50 cents.

That seems a small price to pay for the assurance of trained and engaged Public Safety officers doing their job and keeping us safe.

In truth, most of the revenue will come from residents outside of Sikeston who come here to shop.

Sikeston is truly in the middle of a major resurgence of growth. Today, nearly $40 million in building expansion is underway here. From north to south, virtually every aspect of our proud community is on the increase. That will translate into more jobs and more opportunities for our residents.

To handle that growth, our streets must be in good repair, our parks must offer the recreational opportunities that the community deserves and our Public Safety officers must have the tools to keep us safe and secure.

Tuesday's ballot measure will help to move us forward in all of those critical areas.

There are probably none among us who want to pay additional taxes. But sometimes the needs are so great and the alternatives so concerning, that a slight tax increase is well worth the sacrifice.

City officials have been abundantly transparent in outlining the need for this sales tax increase and exactly how those funds will be spent. We have no reason to doubt the urgent need and every reason to be concerned if the tax is rejected.

We urge every registered voter in Sikeston to join with us in approving this sales tax proposal. The benefits far outweigh the small increase and as we continue to grow, the need for these additional services will become even greater.

Take the time Tuesday to support your community and help assure that Sikeston Strong is our promise, not just a slogan.

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