Jefferson City Fire Department wants voters to approve funding fix

Jul 4, 2012

The Jefferson City Fire Department is asking voters to fund the plan that would purchase new equipment and trucks, cover technical upgrades, and pay for firefighter training. Captain Scott Spencer says unfortunately, a lot of the department’s equipment is getting old.

“This fire department improvement plan is for the community. It all transcends down to the end user, the taxpayer, the customer that might be relying on us for emergency medical services, which we’re going to be upgrading," said Spencer.

The measure would do two things: it would create a quarter cent sales tax to fund the plan. But it would also eliminate 17 percent of the city’s property tax. Spencer says it’s estimated the switch would bring in a net of 1.8 to 1.9 million more tax dollars. In February, Jefferson City voters defeated a measure that would have created a half cent sales tax to fund economic development projects in the city.

“I think sales taxes pass and fail on their own merit. I think this sales tax, being that it is for an essential service, is a little more appealing to all spectrums of our community," said Spencer.

Spencer says the department has been trying to get this measure on the ballot for almost 15 years. He says they’ve never had a mayor, city administrator and city council that all supported the plan, like they do now. Voters will have their say on August 7.