It is an effort to improve funding for Police and Fire services within the community through a proposed property tax. The proposed property tax will levy a $1.00 tax for every $100 of assessed value on all real and personal property.
Leading to a S.A.F.E.R. community!
An investment in public safety will strengthen the community for the future.
As of this publication, the Joplin Police Dept. has 21 openings but needs an additional 22 officers to meet nationally recognized law enforcement standards. Employment trends show law enforcement careers as less desirable which creates more competition among cities to attract new officers.
Similarly, careers within the Fire Service are not as attractive when compared to the opportunities in the private sector. The City will need to add additional firefighters, new stations, and new fire trucks to reduce response times, maintain ISO rating, meet NFPA standards and provide the infrastructure that allows for economic development.
Service - Police Department
The Police Department is faced with a critical shortage of officers to patrol and enforce the laws within the City.
Recent Resource Study shows the need for 22 additional officers.
Declining availability of applicants nationwide.
Since 2012 the Joplin Police Department has lost 163 officers, including 35 to retirement.
Proposition Public Safety is a matter of status quo vs. improvement. It provides a stable platform for current and future challenges.
Service - Fire Department
Since 2012, the Joplin Fire Department has lost a total of 73 firefighters to other fire departments and private sector jobs, with an additional 27 retirements, for a total loss of 100 firefighters.
Cost of Training, Benefits, and equipment per firefighter in their first year is $78,000.
Serving the citizens and businesses of Joplin is a point of pride for the City’s public safety professionals. The private sector cannot provide these critical services which places the accountability and responsibility on a precious few dedicated men and women serving in the City’s Police and Fire Departments.
City services are predominately funded through taxes generated locally. Cities in Missouri are mostly funded through a combination of sales and property tax. The City of Joplin is near the top of comparable cities for sales tax but is among the lowest for property tax.
The absence of revenue from property tax limits the City’s ability to fund necessary services and exposes the City to financial risk by being overly reliant on sales tax.
A vibrant community with a high quality of life must have strong public safety services. The City of Joplin’s ability to protect people, property, and property value is vital for those looking to invest or relocate to the Joplin community.
As the City grows, it provides additional opportunities for existing businesses, reducing the burden on existing taxpayers.
Recruitment and Retention
The key to attracting and retaining public safety personnel is competitive pay and positive working conditions.
Currently, starting pay for a Police Officer and Fire Fighter is approximately $37,000 and $34,000 respectively. Without an improvement, those looking to start public safety careers may never do so because of better opportunities in the private sector.
To retain existing professionals, the City must continue to enhance pay and opportunities so that these dedicated employees can continue their essential service.
How will the funds be spent:
The City Council recently passed an ordinance to place a question on the August 2, 2022 ballot asking Joplin citizens if they would approve a property tax designated for “municipal public safety services” in Joplin. The question is titled Proposition Public Safety on the ballot.
For further information on Proposition Public Safety, please see the FAQ page.
A choice between status quo and a S.A.F.E.R Joplin!
Proposition Public Safety
Shall the City Council of the City of Joplin, Missouri, be authorized to levy and impose annually for municipal public safety purposes upon all subjects and objects of taxation within its corporate limits a tax which shall not exceed the maximum rate of one dollar on the one hundred dollars assesses valuation?
More information on Proposition Public Safety can be found on the FAQ page.
Paid for by the City of Joplin | Nick Edwards, City Manager | 602 S. Main Street, Joplin, MO 64801