Public safety sales tax item on Vienna’s April 6 ballot

By Laura Schiermeier, Staff Writer
Posted 3/31/21

VIENNA — Voters in the City of Vienna at the Tuesday, April 6 Municipal Election will decide whether or not to increase the city’s sales tax by a half-cent in order to provide more …

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Public safety sales tax item on Vienna’s April 6 ballot

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VIENNA — Voters in the City of Vienna at the Tuesday, April 6 Municipal Election will decide whether or not to increase the city’s sales tax by a half-cent in order to provide more funding for the Vienna Police Department. This is the only thing on the ballot for city voters as there are no council positions up for election, nor is there a contested race on the ballot for the Maries R-1 School Board.

The Vienna City Council is requesting voters approve the half-cent sales tax for public safety in order to generate $55,000 to $59,000 annually. If approved by voters, it will mean city residents will pay an increase of $0.50 per $100 of goods purchased at retail in Vienna.

The city council noted passage of a sales tax means the financial burden of law enforcement in Vienna does not fall solely on city residents, but instead is shared by all who make purchases in the city. The council members said the public safety sales tax revenues will take a burden off of general revenue, the fund used to pay for most city services and functions. 

Initial needs from the sales tax would provide $20,500 to $30,000 to replace, maintain, and upgrade police equipment. It would reduce the net operating police department expenses from general revenue by $30,000 to $50,000 annually. It would allow the Vienna PD to offer competitive salaries, attract and retain quality personnel and maintain reserve funds for cost-of-living raises. Passage of the sales tax has the potential to increase Vienna PD patrol by 2,000 plus hours annually. Also, passage of the sale tax will allow the Vienna PD to replace patrol cars sooner to avoid excessive repair costs. 

The city council members are hopeful voters will approve the tax. There are projects the council would like to do and need extra money to accomplish. One such project is construction of a new concession stand and restrooms at the Vienna City Park.

The sales tax needs a simple majority to pass. If voters approve the half-cent sales tax, collection will begin in July 2021. 

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