Belleville's actions don't match Eckert's words

April 15, 2014 

In August, Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert sold the sales tax extension as a way to add at least two police officers to the force. Residents and business owners were clear that they supported the 0.25 cent tax as a way for the city to hire more officers.

Well, Belleville has the sales tax but just one policeman has been added as a result. There's another new position, but that's through the crime-free housing program, which has its own funding source.

Now the spending priority has shifted to the new police station.

Eckert said that sales tax dollars are still being used to improve public safety. For example, building a new police station means that officers often will train here rather than in other towns, giving them more time on the street. The city is purchasing a new police records system, which Eckert said is improving the department's efficiency and freeing up time.

Also, the city may not have as much money as it thought it would; the finance director said revenue has been flat or down.

But the bottom line is this: Eckert said in August that the sales tax money would be used to hire police officers, and instead it's primarily being used for other purposes.

Remember that, voters, every time you pay a bill with the sales tax on it.

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