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Proposed Charleston sales tax will benefit fire protection and law enforcement

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

CHARLESTON, Mo. -- Registered voters in Charleston will decide a sales tax issue that would benefit their fire protection and law enforcement when they go to the polls on Aug. 8.

"To be viable as a community, Charleston needs to invest in its basic fire and police services," said Charleston City Manager Richard Goode. "One of our three fire trucks is 37-years-old and the manufacturer is no longer in business so parts have to be specially fabricated which is expensive."

Another fire truck is 30 years old, added Goode.

"Charleston has only one good fire truck," he said. "The fire truck bay is part of our city hall building and the newer models simply won't fit in the old bay."

The city of Charleston owns a parcel of land adjacent to the city hall property where a new fire station facility could be constructed, according to Goode.

"Our current police station is cramped and antiquated and needs updating," said Goode.

Voters in Charleston have an opportunity to remedy these issues on Aug. 8, according to Goode.

"If the measure is approved, we plan to construct the new fire station for an estimated cost of $500,000. Then, we would purchase two good, used fire trucks at an estimated cost of $400,000," said Goode. "We would utilize the vacated fire truck bay to expand and modernize our police station which is estimated to cost $600,000."

The sales tax increase is projected to generate $285,000 per year, according to Goode.

"Once the voters approve this measure, Charleston will borrow the money to make these much-needed improvements to fire and police service," said Goode.

The sales tax revenue would be used to retire the debt in seven to eight years, according to Goode.

"Lots of other towns have used a sales tax for improvements to their public services, including Sikeston," added Goode.

The proposed sales tax is the sole issue on the ballot, and the only election in Mississippi County.

The ballot language reads: "Shall the municipality of Charleston impose a sales tax of one-half of one percent (.5 percent) for the purpose of funding capital improvements which may include but are not limited to capital improvements to improve the city's fire protection and police services and the retirement of debt, if any, under previously authorized."

Goode is asking the community of Charleston to invest in their police and fire services by voting "yes" on the ballot measure on Aug. 8.

Registered voters may cast their ballot from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Registered voters must present a photo ID in the form of a government issued photo ID, driver's license, non-driver's license, passport or military ID.