City of Republic looking to add one cent sales tax increase to April ballot

Published: Dec. 7, 2018 at 6:31 PM CST
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The Republic City Council will vote next week on whether to add a one cent sales tax increase to the April ballot.

If the sales tax is added to the ballot and passed, it would bring the sales tax rate to 9.35%.

"It would be the highest sales tax rate in our area. However, we also do not charge for personal property tax here." said David Cameron, the city administrator for the City of Republic.

"I feel like that is comparable to bigger cities, California, to the really high tax area. It is a lot." said Vickie White, owner of the Country Sunshine Store in Republic.

Almost 45% of the revenue would go to better pay and more personnel for the fire and police departments.

"Right now we have a 10 officer deficit in the fire department. And the police department we have a 9 officer deficit." said Cameron. "So the city has grown but the size of our city staff has not... to provide the coverage across the community that we need."

More than 14% of the revenue would go towards better retirement for police and fire, as well as all other city employees.

City officials say currently they have the lowest retirement package in the area and have lost employees because of it.

There would also be $500,000 a year that would go towards improving the streets of Republic.

"We have 400 miles worth of street right now and only have 200 thousand dollars worth of funding to address those street needs." said Cameron.

Another big chunk of the money would be to build a new city hall complex.

"I just feel like people are being budget conscious especially this time of year. And people don't like taxes." said White.

"There is never a time when you want to raise taxes. But at the same time is you have got to look at what the need of the community is." said Cameron.

The Republic city council will be voting on Tuesday night December 11th, to either add the one cent sales tax increase to the April ballot or not.

That meeting is open to the public.