St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar says a measure that would allow St. Louis County to hire more police officers is vitally important.
Proposition P, a half cent sales tax increase, will be on the April ballot in St. Louis County. If passed, around $80 million would be spend on law enforcement. St. Louis County would receive $46 million to train and equip more officers, and invest in new technology such as body cameras. $34 million would be distributed among St. Louis County’s 90 municipalities.
“We feel like it has to happen in St. Louis County for law enforcement,” said Belmar
However, not all local leaders are on board with plan. Some leaders in Chesterfield are questioning how the money would be distributed.
“Everyone needs to accept responsibility and pay their fair share. Nobody wants to pay more than their fair share,” said Chesterfield Mayor Bob Nations.
Nations said he is a supporter of law enforcement, but has concerns about the proposal. Taxes under Proposition P would generate $7.4 million in Chesterfield, but the city would only receive $2.4 million back.
Nations added that another tax would drive some residents to leave St. Louis County.
“This would be just one more thing to assure the continued flight of population out of St. Louis County with this exorbitant tax increase,” said Nations.
Belmar and other supporters of Proposition P say they are looking at the big picture.
“Let’s take a look at this in an overarching manner. How does the health of one city compare to the health of St. Louis County overall and why is it important that law enforcement is robust everywhere. It helps our communities wherever they are,” said Belmar.
St. Louis County voters will decide on Proposition P on April 4. It needs a simple majority to pass.
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