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Letters: Police Chief Explains Proposition P Campaign Information

To the Editor:

First of all, I would like to sincerely thank everybody who came out on April 2 and supported the Proposition P initiative.

As you have probably heard, the measure passed, and we will be able to increase the salary of our police officers, as promised. I can assure you, the officers greatly appreciate your support. As I’ve stated previously, although law enforcement is often a “thankless job,” we are so blessed to work in a community where we truly feel appreciated and respected. We have received an outpouring of support and appreciation, and we strive to continue to earn your respect.

Secondly, I’d also like to address some other concerns that have been brought to my attention. There are some in the community who feel I deceived voters in this measure, in regard to the personal property aspect of the tax.

In hindsight I see where I stressed the real estate impact of the tax, more so than the personal property aspect. At the time, I felt the real estate tax was a more measurable figure for people to calculate than personal property, but I also did not neglect to mention the personal property aspect of the tax.

The information I disseminated, including the flier used for our door-to-door contacts, stated “Proposition P is a Public Safety Property Tax Initiative.” I also referenced the personal property aspect in the Letter to the Editor, which was printed in the February 27, 2019 edition of the Ste. Genevieve Herald, as well as our Facebook page, stating, “… To calculate this, take the assessed valuation of your personal property and/or real estate, as indicated on your most recent tax bill, divide that by 100, then multiply that amount by the .2684 cents.”

I apologize if this information was not made clear enough. I promise you it was not an effort to deceive anybody. We went into this campaign trying our best to be open, honest, and non-confrontational, and I truly feel we accomplished that.

Again, we realized any tax increase is a delicate subject, but an important one. When met with opposition, we remained respectful and understanding, and did our best to simply educate and inform.

This measure was never advertised as anything other than a property tax initiative.

Lastly, the increased tax amount from Proposition P is in no way the result of any action of County Assessor Linda Wagner or County Collector Claudia Stuppy. I respectfully request that you treat them and their employees with respect and realize they’re not responsible for this increase.

I sincerely appreciate your support and understanding in this situation, and I personally apologize to anybody who feels as though I was dishonest or deceitful in any way.

As always, if anybody has any questions or concerns, I am always available. My office number is 573-883-5707.

Thank you again for supporting our department.

Eric Bennett,

Ste. Genevieve police chie

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