Throughout the last nine years, the one-half-cent Public Safety Sales Tax has helped the city keep increased costs of infrastructure off the backs of City residents by reducing the risk of increases from being dumped onto the general city property tax. This small equally distributed sales tax, has allowed the City to cover the cost by funding new fire trucks, police patrol cars, upgrades to the police/fire radio system, modernization of the dispatch/911 center and other critical emergency and City wide infrastructure.
This special, voted on by the citizens, sales tax reduces the cost burden that residents would otherwise shoulder through traditional property taxes. An equally distributed sales tax allows city residents as well as those who visit the community or those who shop in the city but live outside the city to contribute to sustaining these emergency and other City services.
On Tuesday, November 8th, Parsons' voters will be asked to increase the current one-half-cent sales tax to a one penny sales tax effect on January 1, 2024. The extended Public Safety Sales tax will run over a ten-year period. The sales tax initiative, if passed, will continue to fund police and fire capital needs (fire trucks, patrol vehicles, rapid response systems). It will also provide substantive funding for a new City of Parsons Public Safety Center that will house the Parsons Police Department and the Parsons Fire Department. In addition to helping ensure that first responders have salaries and compensation comparable to surrounding communities.
The current public safety sales tax has been in effect for 9 years and will sunset on December 31, 2023.
According to Brad Boss, Parsons Fire Chief, "The cost to replace old fire equipment is significant, if we don't maintain a positive ISO rating we risk increased insurance costs that could hit Parsons' residents in the pocketbook." The Public Safety Sales Tax has and would continue to ensure that we meet the standards set by the Insurance Services Office (ISO). Since 2015, The City of Parsons has been able to maintain an ISO Fire rating of 3, ISO ratings go from a high of 1 to the worst score of 10.
The Parsons Fire Department maintains a Class 3 rating placing the City of Parsons in the top 7 ½ % of the states 948 rated fire departments. (1) Something every citizen can be proud of.
"Both Parsons' fire and police department's employees have been lured away by private industry and other police and fire departments offering a higher pay structure," said Parsons Police Chief Robert Spinks. "This is a continuing challenge, which has plagued our city for as long as 25 years where both departments have averaged a 20% annual loss of staff to other employers," Chief Spinks continued, "It is about wages and total compensation. With the current challenges facing employers, recruitment and retention have got to be a priority for the City first responders. The Public Safety Sales Tax will provide resources to ensure that our two departments at least have parity to the surrounding agencies in Southeast Kansas."
- according to Verisk @ www.isomitigation.com/. The Public Safety Sales Tax contributes toward maintaining this high rating