Your Opinion: Sales tax for fire department #1
Monday, July 23, 2012
Jefferson City has an excellent fire department. Through the years the service for protection of property has always been first rate. The response to emergencies is timely and excellent. It is imperative that this be continued.
Financing has not been a problem with funds provided by the property tax. It has always been the property owners that financed the fire protection service. It is this part of the service that is most beneficial to them and has always been supported by property taxes. It is an ad valorem tax on property according to value.
It costs more to provide fire protection to a fourstory building than a one bedroom house. The cost is based on equipment, personnel, etc. required to fight a fire. The ad valorem method through the years has made available the best service possible. To this point there has been first rate service without any complaint. Improvements have always been made by a bond issue as needed and the bonds have always passed.
The sales tax provision will mean that everyone from the surrounding area who shops in Jefferson City will be contributing to the support of the Jefferson City fire service. The question — should this be? They should pay an ad valorem tax based on benefit received.
Revenue is expected to increase through the sales tax and the amount of funds available should increase. If there is a surplus it is almost certain that the extra money will be spent. There is always a way to find another need. There is no way to predict what will happen in the next 15 years.
The present system identifies the need each year and property taxes are assessed depending on the value received. With the sales tax there is no way to put a cap on income, expenditures or benefits if the money is there. The question? Should the city depend on economic growth to fund fire protection and the fireman’s pension fund? The department’s needs can be addressed by other means as has been done in the past. If there is a shortfall in revenues then what?
Who will decide how to spend the funds? Who will decide five or 10 years in the future? Who will benefit the most with the changes, the large property owners or the small home owners? Will the large property owners in some instance pay significantly less?