Colorado

Apr 22, 2014 7:21 PM by Tony Spehar

Pueblo police and firefighters asking voters to support tax increase

PUEBLO - The Pueblo police and firefighters unions are planning a summer campaign to convince voters to approve a half-cent sales tax increase to deal with equipment and staffing issues.

Scratched and worn paint is just the most notable problems facing the police department according to Officer Jonathan Adams with the local police union. He explained that many of the cars in the fleet are years old, have thousands of miles on them and break-downs are becoming too common. The firefighter's union claims they're being affected by the same problems.

Another issue is staffing, both departments say they're understaffed. Adams said he and other officers are becoming concerned about the impact equipment and staffing issues are having on response times.

"A lot of people have talked to us, and rightfully so, about two, three, four-hour wait times on response after they've called the police," Adams described. "It's true and it's the way it is, unfortunately there's not enough officers and the cars break down, the equipment's not there."

The half-cent sales tax increase would bring in about $7-million a year, how the money would be shared between the departments has yet to be determined.

Voters would need to approve the increase in the November election, first the unions must gather over 2,000 signatures by the end of July to get the initiative on the ballot. Adams said the unions are still working to draft the initiative.

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