Council OKs Fire Dept. sales tax bill

By a vote of 7-2, the City Council approved the Fire Department proposal to switch from a property tax to a dedicated sales tax, to be placed on the August ballot.

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At the council meeting Monday, council members approved a substitute bill allowing for the one-fourth cent proposed sales tax to be placed on the August ballot. 2nd Ward Councilman Shawn Schulte and 5th Ward Councilman Ralph Bray opposed the bill. 3rd Ward Councilman Bob Scrivner was not present at Monday’s meeting.

Second Ward Councilman J. Rick Mihalevich introduced the substitute bill for the Fire Department improvement plan that added the requirement for an ad hoc committee to be created to develop criteria to judge the performance and success of the use of tax dollars within the department.

According to the bill, the committee would be made up of one active firefighter, one council member and three other members, which could include city staff, council members or members of the public. The committee would determine “key performance indicators based on department goals and submit an annual presentation to the Public Safety Committee, which can approve or disapprove of the performance indicators.

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