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City looks for sales tax increase to benefit public safety


On April 4th, the voters of Marshfield will be asked to vote on the proposed sales tax increase restricted for public safety. The tax equals $0.50 on every $100 spent in city limits.

“We’re asking residents to approve this increase that is restricted to benefit the police department,” said Mayor Natalie McNish. “Public safety is our number one concern, for both myself and the Board of Aldermen. It’s always been a goal of mine to make sure we preserve our city with at least two officers on duty at all times. With a changing environment, it’s critically important that we not only do that, but we make sure those officers are equipped and resourced with training and equiptment that they need, as well as a facility that operates int he manner that they require to accomplish their duties… all of this keeps the rest of us safe.”

The City has explained how they intend to use these monies and is trying to spread this education through social media, publications, and any group who would like the mayor or aldermen to come present on the topic.

“We have really dove into the statistics on this,” explained Marshfield Police Chief Doug Fannen. “Since I came here almost 20 years ago, we have really only grown by one officer… we just do not have the staffing or the manpower to properly cover our city.”

According to the Department of Public Safety, Seymour has 11 officers for a population of 1,850. Rogersville has 10 officers for a population of 4,413. The population of Marshfield is currently 7,540 with 12 police officers, the newest officer joining last year.

“We work 200 hours a month with only one officer on duty. With that being said, if this tax passes, we will be able to hire four new officers to put out on patrol,” Fannen added. “With the hiring of new officers, this will make our response time quicker, we’ll be able to voter more areas at one time and we’ll be able to investigate crimes more efficiently. Marshfield handles a little over 1,000 calls per month and that’s double, nearly triple the calls that other area municipal agencies handle, with the same number of officers.”

Should the tax pass, the future funds have already been allocated with 52% going to personnel, 18% will go towards equipment purchases, 19% would go toward remodeling the interior of the facilities at the MPD station, with the remaining 11% going towards repairs and replacements for department equiptmnet.

Currently, MPD is the only agency in Webster County that does not have body cameras, car cameras or car computers. These are the main equipment purchased that the department aims to make with the tex funds. The cameras for the squad cars alone are around $5,000 per vehicle. With eight cars, that adds up quikly to $40,000, which explains why the department has been unable to add these devices for public safety so far. The department not only has to make the initial purchase, they also have to pay to store the information collected by the cameras for one year, as well as maintaining the devices over the years.

“As far as the facility remodeling goes, we’re not looking to build a huge new station… we just want to reallocate the space that we currently have,” Fannen said. “Right now, we operate out of about 25% of the building. Another 25% of the building is the area where we hold municipal court, which by law we are not allowed to be in. The other half of the building is the street department. Eventually, we want the street department to be able to move out and into their own structure. But to remodel, we want to add more offices for our officers and another space for a new detective.”

The funds allocated toward maintenance will also help with repairs and replacements as issues arise.

“We’ve had two transmissions blow in police cars within the first two months of this year,” Fannen added. “We ordered new squad cars two years ago and they still haven’t arrived, so in return, repairing those two police car transmissions have already used about two thirds of our maintenance budget for the year. So we think it’s important to allot funds for a nest egg, which will be used for these repairs. Another thing we have to do is purchase new vests every five years, which add up to quite a bit of money… these funds will drastically help us over things like this.”

The ballot will read as follows:

Shall the City of Marshfield, Missouri, be authorized to increase its general sales tax by one-half percent (1/2 of 1%) for the purpose of improving public safety in the City, including, but not limited to, hiring additional City police officers and staff, acquiring additional police vehicles and related equipment, and constructing and renovating facilities for the City's police department?

“I am happy to answer any questions from the public,” added Mayor McNish. “You are also welcome to reach out to our Police Chief, City Administrator, or your Alderman at any time prior to this vote.”


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