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St. Ann police chief asks for property tax increase to cover shortfall

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ST. ANN, MO (KTVI) – St. Ann Police Chief Aaron Jimenez said he may have to lay off one-third of his force if citizens don’t step up to the plate. The chief said his department has been hit by huge revenue shortfall and he’s asking citizens to increase property taxes.

“No tax is easy to pass, but I believe our residents are behind us,” Jimenez said.

Chief Jimenez has a big task ahead. He is asking the average homeowner to kick in between $10 and $12 more to the city every month, or things at the police department could turn drastic.

“If this does not pass, then I’m going to have to lay-off another 13 to 15 policemen,” Jimenez said.

Just two years ago, Jimenez had to let go 10 department employees. He said it’s all because of Senate Bill 5 that capped the amount of money a police department can take in from traffic tickets for a city’s revenue. He said some of those drivers ticketed don’t pay because there’s no threat of jail.

“They say they are indigent, they’re poor and they don’t have any money, all those fractions or misdemeanors get wiped away,” Jimenez said.

The chief estimated revenue is down about $1.5 million. He indicated the cuts will hit local schools the hardest – no more school resource or DARE officers.

“There is no price you can put on putting policemen inside these schools, saying that it’s not a mandatory thing either, not a lot of crime happens in school,” he said.

Jimenez said he realizes the county is trying to pass a tax for police, but St. Ann’s cut would not be enough and there’s no guarantee it will pass, so he’s trying to pass Prop L.