CHESTERFIELD, Mo. (KMOX) – A St. Louis County sales tax passed just a few months ago is supposed to boost public safety, but at least one suburb wants to use its cash in a way that’s raising some eyebrows.
It’s the big question in dozens of city halls across the county. How to spend all this new Prop P money?
In Chesterfield, Mayor Bob Nation says they pay their officers well, and have enough of them, so then how do they spend the extra $2.3 million a year from this tax? The mayor thinks, maybe you don’t spend it on police.
“I don’t think the taxpayers expect their elected officials to spend all of the revenue they received just because they’ve received more,” he says.
Nation says the statute technically doesn’t say the money has to be spent on public safety.
“I think the public perhaps was duped when they were told that it has to go to law enforcement, or public safety is a generic term,” he says.
Public safety, in the mind of the mayor, could mean making sure the roads are free of potholes. Mayor Nation says it wouldn’t even be out of the question to use Prop P proceeds to pad Chesterfield’s reserves.
“There’s some kind of pet-project, something nefarious has to be going on behind the scenes because it just doesn’t make sense,” says Joe Patterson of the Fraternal Order of Police. “One of the concerns that we heard from many of the opponents of Proposition P is that politicians were going to do exactly what Bob Nation is doing. They were going to take the Prop P money, and since there was no statutory requirement to spend it specifically on the police department, that it would be washed into the general revenue fund, and that’s exactly what Bob Nation is doing.”
Nation says some of the Prop P funds could cover programs already in the works, like body cameras.