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The proposed public safety sales tax will not appear on the August ballot for voter approval. However, it will appear on the November ballot without a sunset clause.

Jefferson City Council members approved sending the measure to voters at Monday night's meeting in a 9-1 vote after making two changes to it.

The issue going before voters will be whether to approve a cent sales tax that would go toward public safety. It's estimated to bring in $2.8 million annually, if approved.

The first was to move it from the August ballot to the November one. The other establishes an April 1, 2022, start date rather than Jan. 1.

Ward 4 council member Ron Fitzwater voted against the change and putting the motion on the ballot.

There are questions, he said, that need answers before he was ready to make a decision regarding putting a tax motion to the voters.

"I get the message you're talking about, and I'm 100 percent in support of fixing the issue," Fitzwater said. "We need to do whatever we can to bring our public safety up to speed.

"I appreciate the fact that it's been delayed, but I've tried to raise other questions because there are other things out there that people are asking about other places have been burnt when we don't ask those questions up front," Fitzwater said.

The main issue, council members agreed, is addressing trouble with recruitment and retention for public safety staff.

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Representatives with the Fraternal Order of Police and Fire Fighters Local Union 671 made the argument to council, which had previously been discussed, that increasing salaries would help with both those issues.

They argued in favor of focusing on compression of salaries, making the incline between positions shorter, which would also raise the bottom salaries but not the top line of salaries.

The organizations would be involved in negotiations regarding any salary changes.

Council members also discussed using funds for equipment, such as body cameras and vehicles, and to address other needs within public safety as it comes up.

Jon Hensley, Ward 5, said the goal of the sales tax is different from what people are used to with the capitol improvement sales tax, which will be up for renewal in August, because this would focus on supplementing what the departments receive from the general fund.

Previously, council members discussed putting a sunset clause in the tax, which would bring it up to voters again after a preset amount of time, but they did not add one to it Monday night without any discussion on the matter.

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