You have likely seen banners around town promoting Proposition “U” for LSL Police. So what is Proposition U, what does it benefit, and why should I vote for it?
Lake Saint Louis’ current population is approximately 15,900. With ten subdivisions under construction, four breaking ground soon, the Waterways Apartments and The Meadows Apartments adding 300 future units, it is possible that 1,100 new residential units will be built within five years. This will add over 2,000 new residents pushing our population to over 18,000. The Police Department’s metric determining staffing levels calculates three new Patrol Officers should be hired to accommodate this growth. New Patrol Officers salaries and benefits total over $80,000 per officer.
There is also an immediate need for the department to be certified by the Missouri Police Chief’s Association. This is a very comprehensive process and will require the City to add a Professional Standards Officer to oversee the certification. Chief DiGuiseppi would like this position to be a Lieutenant as this position will also be assigned to oversee internal investigations within the department. This position’s pay and benefits would be $100,000.
Is certification necessary? More accountability is placed on police departments by the state. The St. Louis Area Police Chief’s Association has passed requirements that all members be certified by the Missouri Police Chief’s Association by 2021. Certification reviews the Department’s organization, management and administration. It strengthens crime prevention and control capabilities, formalizes management procedures, establishes fair personnel practices, promotes interagency cooperation and boosts citizen confidence in the department. The new Lieutenant will also oversee the department’s emergency management by expanding public service announcements, mass notifications to include social media, and education. This includes becoming a Storm Ready City through the National Weather Service. The Lieutenant will oversee the department’s training, establish officer wellness and peer review program to assist in dealing with the stress of critical incidents and maintain the body camera program.
Chief DiGuiseppi also proposes converting one part-time Dispatcher to full-time and adding another full-time Dispatcher. This will allow the Police Department to have two Dispatchers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is a move that adds another element of safety for our residents.
The cost of all these new positions is around $400,000. This is the amount of revenue that the Missouri Municipal League forecasts the City will receive yearly from a Use Tax or Proposition “U”. All of the revenue generated from the Use Tax will go to the Lake Saint Louis Police Department. So….. what is this “Use Tax”.
The simple answer is that a Use Tax is a tax on the purchase of goods primarily by local businesses when made from out-of-state and some on-line vendors. The amount of Use Tax is equal to the Sales Tax rate. No one pays both a Sales Tax and also a Use Tax on any purchase. An individual self-reports the Use Tax after that individual orders more than $2,000 during the course of a year. St. Charles County and the State of Missouri do impose a Use Tax.
Adopting the Use Tax will level the playing field for local businesses who must charge a Sales Tax. It is a win-win for local businesses as well as our Police Department and the residents of Lake Saint Louis.
I encourage you to vote Yes on Proposition “U” to provide additional resources for our Lake Saint Louis Police Department.