In addition to discussions about increasing police department funding, debates over city tax rates were part of the public comment section of the Ste. Genevieve Board of Aldermen meeting last Thursday.
During the public comments, Micah Rousey, Kenny Schweiss and Carl Wehner all spoke against an increase in sales tax — which was taken up later in the meeting — as a means to increase police salaries.
Rousey started off by saying he loves the local police department and that he thinks “they do an incredible job keeping us safe” and that “they deserve to earn salaries commensurate with surrounding police departments because they are good officers and should earn a good living.”
He said connecting police protection to a tax increase is “unfair.”
“It forces people to think, ‘Do I want to pay more taxes, or do I like our police department?’ And I can tell you that I love our police department, but I don’t want to pay more taxes,” Rousey said.
“The citizens of Ste. Genevieve are tired of seeing our government find the solution to every single problem is to increase the taxes to our people. We have sales taxes higher here, in our sleepy little town, than in cities which provide their people with public transportation, sidewalk and multiple services we as rural citizens never expect.
“We don’t expect a lot; we don’t get a lot. But somehow we pay a lot.” …
Schweiss also raised concerns about high sales tax rates. The city’s sales tax of 9.225 percent includes 2 percent for the city and 2.5 percent for the county and another half-cent for the Ste. Genevieve County Ambulance District.
“I personally think we’re up almost to one of the highest in the state and if we get any more higher, I don’t think it will be good,” he said. “Perryville, 6.1 percent sales tax. … Look at Perryville. What have they got? They’ve got a super big factory down there, 1,300, 1,400 people in and out of that town every day. And they stop at Walmart, they stop to eat, go bowling, whatever.
“I think we’re way, way behind on trying to get new businesses into this town. …
See complete story in the January 16 edition of the Herald.