Letter: Prop COPS, by county commission

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On April 6, 2021, Perry County voters will head to the polls to cast ballots to elect city aldermen, school board members, and trusties for the Perry County Memorial Hospital Board and Perry County Health Department Board.
Voters will also be asked to approve a capital improvements sales tax of one-half of 1 percent for 20 years to fund a new Joint Justice Center to house under one roof the Perry County Sheriff’s Department, Perryville City Police Department, jail, judicial court system, Perry County Emergency Management and 911 Dispatch Center. This initiative is known as Prop C.O.P.S (Court, Operations, Police and Sheriff).
Over the last 30 years, Perry County’s population has grown, and the community has seen expansion and improvement in areas such as industry, with the addition of TGMO; medical care as we have witnessed the expansion of services at Perry County Memorial Hospital; and the enhancements taking place on the campus of Perry County School District 32. Yet, segments of our justice system have remained stagnant, operating from buildings they’ve outgrown that are too small to house the law enforcement equipment.
That is why members of the Perry County Commission are supporting Prop C.O.P.S.
We take serious the safety of the individuals who serve our community’s justice arm. We want them to have proper equipment and adequate space in which to perform their duties.
Housing every department in one building means better training opportunities for departments and enhanced inter-agency cooperating and cuts out a duplication of equipment. It also means a more secure space for our judges and court clerks. Creating this centralized space would result in elevating every department of justice.
Unlike a property tax, a sales tax impacts residents and non-residents alike. Statistically, nearly 50 percent of sales tax collected in Perry County comes from visitors to our community. Should the Prop C.O.P.S. tax pass, the fiscal impact would be one penny on a purchase of $2. Those pennies will be used to construct a facility that would allow for increased efficiencies and better delivery of services from all our law enforcement agencies. Even with the passage of this sales tax Perry County’s tax rate would still fall below other nearby counties, including Ste. Genevieve, St. Francois and sections of Cape Girardeau counties.
The passage of Prop C.O.P.S allows for the county to continue to foster mutual support, and continue cooperation among joint law enforcement agencies. It is a sign of progress, and will further solidify the working relationships between county and city agencies, because we are stronger together. We are more efficient and better together, and our goal is to continue to work towards making Perry County a safer place to live. We want to show our gratitude for local law enforcement by building them a facility that will allow all departments to live up to their potential as peace keepers.

Mike Sauer, Perry County Presiding Commissioner
Jay Wengert, Perry County District 1 Commissioner
Keith Hoehn, Perry County District 2 Commissioner

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