KCUR News
5:00 pm
Wed July 28, 2010

KC Law Dollars: Surge or Splurge

Calling it a "police surge," Mayor Mark Funkhouser today proposed hiring another one hundred officers using an extended public safety sales tax. It was not universally well received.

The police chief has his own plan and it would pay for 40 officers with a more permanent set of funds than a sales tax. Jim Corwin's proposal spends the tax money on building projects, a crime lab, new police stations. He has said it's not wise to link police jobs with a funding source as transitory as a sales tax.

The two plans are at odds with each other.

The Plans were presented to the council's Public Safety and Neighborhoods Committee. Chair Kathy Jolly wasn't jumping to support Funkhouser's method. And she was blunt about it-- "The police board, the police chief, they do this day in and day out. That is their job. I am not going to vote on a resolution, we're not voting today, or to cut this conversation without their input. And I think what they have to say is very important in this discussion."

Expect more fireworks next week. The Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners is expected to attend the committee hearing session.

The mayor wants voters in November to decide on a 20 year extension of the public safety sales tax. He argued the city doesn't have money to hire new police. The tax will expire next June. It has traditionally been used to fund capital projects such as new stations and the police academy.