City leaders agree on need for more officers, disagree on how to pay

POSTED: 06:31 PM CDT Aug 14, 2013    UPDATED: 07:26 PM CDT Aug 14, 2013 
COLUMBIA, Mo. -

Both city leaders and police agree that Columbia needs to add police to lower the crime. However, they disagree on how to pay for those extra officers.

Mayor Bob McDavid proposed an increased property tax to help fund the department, but changed his mind Wednesday morning following a Columbia Police Officers' Association public forum Tuesday.

CPOA Executive Director Dale Roberts says the taxpayers shouldn't have to pay extra because the money is already in the budget. He maintains the Columbia Police Department should be getting about $1.9 million from the 911 call center expense budget moving to the county.

He also says the overtime hours they pay current officers would fund 17 new officers.

Councilman Karl Skala says the $1.9 million is already spoken for, and it's going toward city employee salaries and other programs.

He adds that if the city can't find the money in the budget, leaders may have to make sacrifices elsewhere, including cutting funding for trails and Columbia Access Television.

Both city leaders and police want voters to decide how they want to pay for the officers by calling or emailing McDavid or their councilmen.

To contact your City Council representative, click here.