Mayor Responds to Ads Regarding Public Safety Sales Tax
Some of you have seen the billboard and other advertisements paid for by International Association of Firefighters Kansas City’s Local 42 requesting a public safety sales tax. Local 42 represents Grandview firefighters and firefighter/paramedics and we are currently in labor negotiations on a collective bargaining agreement for the next three years. Labor negotiations are always a challenging and delicate process, and they work best when both sides keep negotiations at the bargaining table.
Many of you have expressed your appreciation for the fine work both our Police and Fire Departments do, and we in turn appreciate and share in your interest and concern for all employees. The Board of Alderman and I are very much aware of the desires and needs of Grandview employees, and that is why we are asking citizens to focus first and foremost on the renewal of the Capital Improvement Sales Tax on August 8.
Public Safety is of the utmost importance to the Grandview Board of Alderman and me. For this reason, 46% of the Capital Improvement Sales Tax renewal is devoted to serving the needs of the Police & Fire Departments. It pays for all the fire trucks, ambulances, police cars, safety and protective equipment, EMS equipment, body cameras, firearms, mobile data terminals, breathing apparatus, and radios that all public safety workers need to safely do their jobs. This is a renewal of a sales tax we’ve had in place for nearly 20 years – not a tax increase. In addition, the sales tax renewal pays for new sidewalks, curb replacement, and storm water and city facility improvements and repairs.
The Capital Improvement Sales Tax Renewal is something we’ve been planning for the past 18 months. When the Board of Alderman and I decide on another sales tax ballot issue, it will take a good deal of discussion to determine how those funds would best be allocated to added personnel, pay raises, or other needs. Those discussions need to take place between City leaders and all Grandview Departments before placing a new tax issue on an election ballot.
We would urge citizens to first consider the issue at hand – renewal of the Capital Improvements Sales Tax--and let labor negotiations take their natural course between the City and the firefighters’ representatives at Local 42. We respect and value the work Grandview’s outstanding employees do, and we want to make sure Grandview’s employees are compensated competitively with other cities. We also want to provide our employees with the best equipment possible to do their jobs, and the Capital Improvements Sales Tax is the only mechanism to do that.
--Mayor Leonard Jones
Board of Aldermen Regular Session