ST. LOUIS, Mo. _St. Louis City police and firefighters will soon get a raise thanks to voters who approved Proposition P, which requires a half cent sales tax increase. Voters approved the measure Tuesday with about 60 percent of the vote.
The average raise will be $6 thousand per officer or firefighter per year. The tax hike takes effect in most areas of the city April 1, jumping from 9.2 to 9.7 percent.
Mayor Lyda Krewson says she's, "appreciative and thankful to the voters of St. Louis," for the passage of Prop P, which she says will help create a safer St. Louis.
Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner's office will also receive an additional $1 million from the new sales tax revenue. She released a statement saying in part, "My team and I will utilize the needed resources to reduce violent crime, bring innovative ideas and best practices in prosecution to St. Louis and develop victim and witness support and safety programs.”
Supporters say the tax hike was necessary to keep officers' pay competitive with the salaries in St. Louis County. Opponents argue the new tax targets the city's poorest residents and say other options should be pursued prior to going to the taxpayers.
St. Louis City also elected a new member to the Board of Alderman Tuesday. Lisa Middlebrook won with 50 percent of the vote over Jasmine Turnage and Elston McCowan.
Overall voter turnout was 21 percent, about one percent more than expected.