Now that the November general election is over, the Desloge Board of Aldermen is looking ahead to a half-cent sales tax proposition it plans to place on the April 3, 2019 municipal election ballot to help cover public safety costs related to the city’s police and fire departments.
At its regular monthly meeting held Nov. 5, the board of aldermen unanimously approved a motion to have Proposition P placed on the spring 2019 ballot.
“We discussed a couple of months back how we wanted to try to find a way to elevate those two departments,” said City Administrator Dan Bryan. “We had some need with the fire department for a new tanker truck and the police department is looking to add a couple of officers to their force.
“We have a need for new equipment. We need to add a few more vehicles to the fleet. We’ve lost a few here over the last few months to fire and accident due to pursuit, and things like that. It’s time for us to add to the fleet and try to find a way to make all these things happen. So, the idea of Prop P came along.”
According to Bryan, when discussion began several months ago about approaching city voters with the proposition, it got confused with the ongoing discussion among the aldermen regarding whether or not there would be a continuation of Desloge’s free trash service or if it would change to a paid service.
“I just wanted to make it clear to the board at the meeting and for them to agree that there needs to be a clear separation between the two topics and that Proposition P would only support public safety — the fire department and the police department,” he said. “The voters need to understand that there is no other tag with that. Solid waste is its own thing. A paid trash service is its own thing. This would strictly enhance those two departments.
“We kinda’ just hammered out and clarified that this was the way we wanted to go with that. So, the board did vote to introduce Proposition P on the ballot for April. If passed, it’s going to generate an estimated $430,000 annually.
“Here’s the big thing about it — when we go with a sales tax thing, it’s not just the contribution of Desloge residents, but it’s the contribution of every other person that comes into town to do business here in Desloge.
"So, it’s not just on the backs of Desloge residents, but anyone that comes here to eat, pay for merchandise, go to Walmart or wherever. They will all play a part in strengthening this proposition.”
Before voting unanimously in favor of the proposition, Bryan said the aldermen agreed to put the measure on the April ballot.
“So, beginning next month we will be getting the wording that we’re wanting to do, and I told them our goal was to have everything ready prior to the end of the year, however the deadline is Jan. 22 to have everything in for that. Anyway, our plan is to have everything in by the end of December.”