Columbia City Council Mulls Property Tax Hike for Public Safety

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COLUMBIA - City Council Member Ginny Chadwick told KOMU 8 News Wednesday council members want to put a proposal on the November ballot that would increase the rate of property taxes to better fund public safety.

"I want to make sure that we as a city are keeping up with our police force as our population grows, and so, because we don't have the funding to do that right now, I feel it's important to tie that initiative to property tax," Chadwick said.

The proposal would go toward funding staff for the Columbia Police Department and the Columbia Fire Department. While council members have not yet decided on particular figures for the tax, Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid has proposed a 30 cent increase per $100 dollars of property.

Chadwick said the city has 30 police officers less than is appropriate for the population of Columbia, and McDavid's proposal would fill approximately 30 positions.

Voters who talked to KOMU 8 News had differing positions on the proposal. Some either think city money should be spent elsewhere, or property taxes should not be raised for any reason.

"The price of everything is going up," Columbia voter Preston Potter said. "Whether it's the price of food or sales tax, and I just don't think there is enough of a need to raise the property tax."

Others think the extra tax is worth augmenting public safety.

"It's very important to support people who work in uniform, and there's not enough support for them, so any way to do that, I'm all for it," Columbia voter Jon Phillips said.

Chadwick said the council has until August 26 to decide on the exact language of the measure and approve putting it on the November ballot.