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Independence City Council approves putting 1/4-cent sales tax on August ballot to increase police salaries

Independence police officer
Posted at 8:33 PM, May 20, 2024

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The Independence City Council unanimously approved putting a 1/4-cent sales tax on the August ballot to fund an increase in police department pay.

The 7-0 vote came during Monday night's city council meeting.

Independence city leaders want the police department to be able to attract top candidates to become officers.

KSHB 41's Megan Abundis covered a city meeting last week where officials said the tax would generate about $5.5 million each year.

That money would fully fund new wage agreements between the department and the city as well as fill 38 vacancies on the department.

Independence Police Chief Adam Dustman said at the May 13 meeting that if the 1/4-cent sales tax does not pass, the department would have to move officers from specialized units and into the patrol unit.

“It would mean reduction of services, pulling back people to patrol,” Dustman said at the May 13 meeting. “We are at about currently 50 percent staffing in our investigations unit, which causes us to potentially look at engaging a metro squad; that comes out and responds from a multitude of different agencies. That would be a first for us in a long, long time."

The sales tax would not have an end date or year and voters would have to repeal the tax.

That's because the tax funds are tied to officer's salaries and benefits.

The election is scheduled for August 6