Chillicothe Police Chief Jon Maples says his department needs more funding.
Maples addressed the city council with his concerns on Tuesday night and asked them to agree to pay have City Attorney Robert Cowherd draft language for a proposal for the April 2020 ballot, asking for a sales tax specifically earmarked for the police department.
The proposed tax would be a sales tax of .25 cents per $100.
“We are not asking the citizens to pay an additional tax out of their pockets, it is a sales tax that will be paid by anyone who shops in Chillicothe, “ Maples said. “You spend $100 at Wal-mart, the tax will be an additional .25, which would go to law enforcement.”
Maples said the need for additional funding - is vital to continue to have an effective and well-maintained department.
“In order for us to serve the community to the best of our abilities. We need access to the most effective training available and the most cost-effective tools for completing the tasks before us,” he said.
In the last year, the number of calls average by the department each day has raised over 100. The types of calls are also becoming more volatile. Maples said the nature of some of the crimes is changing and he feels that is in direct correlation to the efforts made by officers to get into the community.
“They trust us, they know we want what is best for them and we are working hard to get their issue handled,” Maples said. “These crimes have always been going on in Chillicothe, we are just hearing about it more.”
To continue to provide the best safety for the community, Maples said there is an ongoing need for at least $12,000 annually for training along with ensuring officers have the best personal protection and tools they need.
Capital Improvements to the department’s fleet of vehicles needs to be placed on a rotation so new vehicles can be brought in on a rotating basis.
All five council members were in attendance at the meeting and each spoke in support of the tax being placed on the April 2020 budget, then voted 5-0 to ask Cowherd to draft proposed ballot language to be approved at a council meeting in the near future. The language must be certified by the county clerk on Jan. 28 to be placed on the April ballot.
“We need to take steps to make sure our department has what they need, we need to be proactive here,” Councilmen Denny Albertson said.
City Administrator Darin Chappell pointed out that even if the proposed .25 sales tax increase were to pass, Chillicothe would still have a lower tax rate then neighboring towns.
“Even with this increase we are not taking our selves out of the community market,” Chappell said.
In the last several years the department has worked to secure nearly $100,000 in grants, in addition to the funding they receive from the city.