Local Use Tax - For Public Safety

IMG_8173On November 8, Ozark citizens will have the opportunity to vote for a new city ordinance, a local use tax for public safety purposes at the same rate as the total local sales tax rate. The revenue will be used to meet facility needs, equipment, compensation and training.

Ballot Language: 

Shall the City of Ozark, Missouri, impose a local use tax for public safety purposes at the same rate as the total local sales tax rate, currently 2.375 %, provided that if the local sales tax rate is reduced or raised by voter approval, the local use tax rate shall also be reduced or raised by the same action?

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Local Use Tax for Public Safety Fast Facts:

  • Revenue from this Local Use Tax would be used to assist in the operation of the Ozark Police Department, including but not limited to; meeting facility needs, services, equipment, compensation and training.
  • Use tax applies to purchases made outside the taxing jurisdiction but used within the state. Use tax is a complementary or compensating tax to the sales tax and does not apply if the sales tax was charged.
  • The Local Use Tax for public safety will only be used to help fund the operation of the Police Department and come not be comingles with non-public safety city funds.

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How Would Revenue From The Local Use Tax- For Public Safety Be Used?  

  1. Staffing
  2. Facility
  3. Equipment
  4. Interactions

Although our beautiful city encourages new officers to come to the area, not being able to provide certain amenities and necessities is dampening our ability to attract new talent to the Ozark Police Department. As the city population increases, so must our police presence to maintain the same level of policing we have all become accustomed to. The Ozark Police Department has authorized 37 sworn police officers and 6 non-sworn police officers. Ozark has seen a 17.7% population increase over the past decade, with estimates showing a 3.2% population increase this year alone. We need to increase our force by approximately 20% to meet state and federal recommendations. Identifying the appropriate number of police officers is a task that requires multiple viewpoints, an incredible amount of data, and an understanding of the public safety priorities of community stakeholders (citizens). This can be completed by analyzing the population, calls for service, or organizational workload. 

 

With these studies in mind, Ozark Police Command Staff recommends that the appropriate staffing level for the Ozark Police Department in 2022 is 45 police officers. Currently, with our 37 officers, we have approximately 1.9 officers for every 1,000 citizens. The average in the Midwest is 2.2 officers per 1,000 citizens. Nationally it is 2.3 officers per 1,000 citizens. With 45 police officers, we would still be below the average by having 2.1 officers per 1,000 citizens; however, we would be much closer to our goals of being more involved with the community and reducing crime.

 

To retain talent, we must focus on valuing police officers' contributions to our city through competitive pay, benefits, work environment, and equipment. When we hire a new Ozark Police Officer, it costs us approximately $15,000 to hire, equip, and train a new staff member. We must do everything possible to ensure we are retaining the staff we are able to hire. The market (locally, regionally and nationally) for police officers is more competitive than ever due to the shortage of qualified individuals to serve as police officers. We must value our staff, improve our facility, and provide adequate and up to date 

Ozark Police Department


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