Early this week, the Chillicothe City Council approved an ordinance to place a proposed sales tax increase, to benefit the police department, on the April 7 ballot. City Clerk Roze Frampton delivered the previously approved ballot language to County Clerk Sherry Parks on Jan. 28, the last day to file the ballot language.

The proposed tax increase is one-fourth of one percent or $0.25 per $100 spent.

This increase is the first time in 17 years city officials have asked voters for an increase, something that is unheard of city Administrator Darin Chappell said.

“Even with this increase, Chillicothe will still have a sales tax rate of 7.97 percent, which is lower than any full-service city - with police and fire departments - in northwest Missouri,” he said.

The previously approved ballot language will read: “Shall the City of Chillicothe, Missouri, be authorized to increase its general sales tax by one-quarter of one percent (¼ of 1%), to be used to acquire and or improve police facilities, acquire police equipment, maintain police services and recruit, train and retain police officers.”

After discussion, the council voted 3-1 to approve changing the speed limit over the viaduct on Washington Street, from Waples to 1st Street to 35 mph.

Third Ward Councilman Michael Smith opposed to the change due to safety concerns.

“I voted against the change due to the safety concern of the fire department exiting onto Washington Street from 2nd Street when responding fo emergency calls,” Smith said. “If we have people now not obeying the 25 mph speed limit, it is my opinion we will still have the same problem just at a faster speed.”

Chappell said the Missouri Department of Transportation has been working with federal officials to get the speed limit changed for several years. He said the work by MoDot and the federal government to get the change approved on their level goes back several years to when former Mayor Chuck Haney was still in office.

In the next several weeks Chappell said the speed limit signs will be posted and at that time the police department will begin enforcing the new speed limit.

During the meeting, Mayor Theresa Kelly also recommended Pam Klingerman, curator of the Grand River Historical Society Museum to a three-year term on the city’s Historic Preservation Board. Klingerman recently finished a one-year appointment to the board. The council voted 4-0 to approve the appointment.