Tucson safety initiative means more taxes for residents
TUCSON, Arizona: This November Tucson residents will not only be voting on the "Public Safety First Initiative," a proposed City Charter amendment, this fall but they will also determine if the city's taxes should be increased. The safety initiative addresses increasing staffing levels for fire and police departments but in turn will force the city to impose property or sales tax increases to cover the new expenses, if the measure is approved by voters. According to Tucson city officials the additional positions will cost the city an additional $50 million per year. An alternative revenue source would be cutting five city staff positions, said Interim Deputy Budget Director Marie Nemerguth. The measure calls for 350 additional police officers. Safety initiative sponsors said that any move by the city council to put an initiative or a tax increase to pay for the extra officers on the fall ballot would show "bad faith" towards the initiative and officers.