STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - Would you want to pay more in taxes for more police protection?
If you own property in Statesboro, the city wants your opinion before they vote on a millage increase in two weeks. Mayor Jan Moore and City Council held the first of three public hearings on Thursday to discuss the proposed increase. Most people would pay an extra $20 to $40 per year to raise money to raise police salaries.
Mayor Moore says the city hasn't raised the millage rate in a decade. She says the city's revenues have gone up in that time, but not as fast as the costs of a police department. She outlined how a half mil increase would generate more than $300,000 more per year, but would only cost property owners an extra $20 per $100,000 worth of property. She always explained the city and county are limited when it comes to sales tax.
"That's a lot of money, and we don't get any part of it. It goes all to our local board of education so that greatly constrains our budget," Mayor Moore said.
Mayor Moore says the money would help them attract and retain better, more experienced officers to help make the city safer.
"Everybody's in the same boat. We have the same pool to choose from, and they're going to go to the better salaries and the better benefits," the mayor said.
That's different from a Special Purpose Sales Tax and those that can't go into just general budgets.
One realtor voiced concern that the tax goes just on property owners. But one man who identified as a retired New York City police officer who moved here said even the increase isn't enough to adequately pay police for what they do.
They're also considering some homestead exemptions for seniors. The second public hearing is just getting underway.
The final hearing will be September 5 at City Hall.