Smart Decision 2014: Suporters of Prop. 1 say law enforcement needs funding

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COLUMBIA - Proposition one failed at the polls Tuesday, getting only 40 percent of the vote.

Proposition one would have increased property tax, with the extra money going toward Columbia police and firefighters.

"I think Columbia needs more emphasis on public safety," said Karen Taylor, Chair of Yes for Public Safety. "If you have ever been in the position of needing the service of police or firefighters you realize how important that is. So to me it is buying that insurance package."

Mayor Bob McDavid cited since the general revenue has shrunk about 12%, so has the budget for law enforcement.

Tuesday McDavid gave a brief explanation of why he thinks Columbia needs funding similar to this. He says some cities, about the size of Columbia, are not increasing the size of their police force, but he says those cities crime rates are not as high as Columbia. That is why he thinks Columbia needs more law enforcement.

Every time a call comes in, both firefighters and police officers respond. But if there are two major problems going on in the city, half would have to leave the first scene to take care of the next problem. It is called status zero.

McDavid says about $5.5 million would get the job done and there are a few ways to do that.

"Now there are other ways to get to that number," McDavid said. "You could get there with a quarter cent sales tax. You could, but I am not proposing that, I will not be proposing anything in the near future."

McDavid gave a few reason why he will not be proposing a sales tax.

"Sales tax has two flaws. It does fluctuate with the economy," McDavid said. "You know when the economy is bad we don't have to buy a big screen TV or a new iPhone. Another problem is the accelerating use of e-commerce because we don't pay sales tax on e-commerce goods."

Taylor says the fight is not over yet, and the city council needs to find ways to get more funding and McDavid agreed.

 

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