State Rep, St. Louis Treasurer oppose proposition to increase po - KMOV.com

State Rep, St. Louis Treasurer oppose proposition to increase police funding

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

'Prop P' funding will soon go into effect in Saint Louis County in an effort to create better funding for police and raising officer pay. It's the city's turn on November 7, 2017. Voters will decide if the city's half-cent sales tax bump floats or sinks.

News 4 spoke to voters who aren't sure how they'll vote, but know what it will take to give up a half-penny on the dollar.

'Citizens for a Safer STL' have pulled out their marketing for 'Prop P' just two weeks before you vote.

"I support Prop P because we have to be able to attract the best officers to stay in our neighborhoods,' says one woman in the ad. 

"Who could blame a first responder for leaving the city if the county is going to pay them 30 percent more," asks one man in the ad. 

The ad does not change the mind of Keanna Moore.
 
"I don't think so because the money they already have is not being put to good use," said Moore. 

News 4 met long-time North City Resident Lisa Ruffin on a porch not far from the neighborhood she grew up. 

A shooting, a short drive away from Ruffin's front door, is proof officers are necessary to serve and protect. 

"And I do mean serve and protect, not the type of service people have to protest and put a knee on the ground and all that kind of stuff or the police brutality," said Ruffin. 

Some in Ruffin's family wear the police and firefighter uniforms. 

She's still critical when it comes to giving the police department nearly $12.8 million to hire 100 officers.

"I would like to see more foot patrol or interaction with the community like when I was a little girl to restore faith in police officers. I remember Officer Friendly' and stuff like that," added Ruffin. 

The half-cent sales tax would also cover a pay increase, for starting officers, from $42,000 to $52,000.

City leaders expect 'Prop P' to give a little more than $5.4 million to the city's firefighters which David Goodson is happy to hear. 

"They support us. They save our lives. They get in there and pull someone out when it is burning. They really deserve it," said Goodson. 

State Representative Bruce Franks and St. Louis City Treasurer Tishaura Jones say they oppose Prop P. They're part of a coalition that includes other community groups.

The coalition says the tax hike would unfairly affect the "poorest communities."

They also claim there's no direction on how the money will be used.    

City leaders expect 'Prop P' to provide:

  • $3.9 million from a corresponding half-cent increase in the city's sales tax
  • $1.5 million for the Circuit Attorney's Office
  • $975,000 for after-school programs and summer jobs
  • $975,000 for social work and mental health
  • $975,000 for recreation programming
  • $675,000 for building demolition.

Acting Police Chief Lawrence O'Toole said he is concerned he may lose officers to St. Louis County if Prop P doesn't pass. O'Toole said the city is currently more than 100 officers short.

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