A tax, but will there be cops?

August 29, 2013 

These statements are taken from Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert's letter Aug. 17 to the BND: "Business owners and residents overwhelmingly stated that they prefer more police officers to repealing the tax. ... The safety of our community must remain our No. 1 priority. ... I ask that everyone do the right thing and support the hiring of additional police officers through the extension of the sales tax for the next four years."

The people are weary of broken promises. They are tired of seeing the value of their homes go down while property taxes, sales taxes and income taxes go up, sewer rates increase and a proposed "rent tax" materializes, during which crime remains the No. 1 concern.

The citizens want assurance. Aldermen Lillian Schneider, White and I submitted these amendments: Ordinance 7704 shall be commonly known as: "Home Rule Quarter-Cent Sales Tax extension to recover untimely payments by the state of Illinois for funds due to the city of Belleville and 'to place cops on street' to fight crime within the city." "The city, at its own expense, will expend $340,000 from the sales tax to ensure a minimum of four additional police officers (and a maximum of six, depending on the finality of the grant process." We also asked for a vote on the sales tax by referendum. Eckert made sure these amendments were defeated.

I share with those who believe Eckert's promises of more cops are a hoax.

With $1.2 million a year, mayor: Show me the cops.

Joe Hayden

Alderman, Ward 5

Belleville

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