Truesdale asks voters to approve sales tax increase to help police department

By Jason Koch, Editor
Posted 1/19/24

Voters in Truesdale will be asked to approve a half percent sales tax increase during the Missouri municipal election in April 2024.

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Truesdale asks voters to approve sales tax increase to help police department


Truesdale residents will be asked to approve a half-percent sales tax increase on the April ballot with the money going to the city’s police department.

Residents will be asked the following question: Shall the City of Truesdale impose a general sales tax of one-half of one percent for public safety purposes, dedicated to the Truesdale Police Department.

Voters will be given the choice between yes or no and the measure needs a majority vote to pass. Should voters pass the measure, the sales tax in Truesdale would increase from 8.725 percent to 9.225 percent. That would still remain lower than both Warrenton and Wright City, both of which have a sales tax of 9.475 percent.

Aldermen approved taking the issue to voters by a vote of 4-0 at the Jan. 10 meeting.

If the measure passes, the increase in the sales tax is estimated to bring in between $60,000 to $95,000, City Clerk Elsa Smith-Fernandez said. That number is coming from the transportation sales tax increase, which brought in about $96,000, she said.

The money would go toward capital improvements, salaries, and officer retirement, Police Chief Casey Doyle said.

“I’m hoping that it will take care of a lot of things,” he said. “It’s very difficult to get applicants for law enforcement agencies and on top of it we’re competing with other agencies, including ones right around us to keep qualified officers at this department.”

Missouri state statute prohibits the use of money from water utilities or transportation funds for the police department. All money must come from the city’s general revenue fund or from the proposed sales tax.

How Truesdale police would use the money

Doyle said the Truesdale Police Department currently has seven officers, counting himself and the new school resource officer at Rebecca Boone Elementary School hired as part of an agreement with the Warren County R-III school district. Three of the officers are full-time.

The starting salary for an officer in the Truesdale department is $23.50 an hour, Doyle said.

Doyle said money from the increased sales tax wouldn’t immediately pay for a new officer, but would allow the department to pay for other necessary equipment.

“If we need a new vehicle, obviously, they’re expensive,” Doyle said. “The outfits are expensive. Equipment is expensive, uniforms, firearms, firearm equipment, training. Everything that we need to function has doubled, if not tripled in price and lead times have doubled if not tripled.”

“Even maintaining what we have is very expensive,” Smith-Fernandez added.

“Every aspect of our budget has increased,” Doyle said.

And he said he expects that to continue, especially as Truesdale could see its population nearly double in the next few years.

“I want to grow this police department sooner than later so that we are on top of things, that we can provide the services that the city needs, the community demands, and not be playing catch up,” he said.

He also doesn’t want the city to see an increase in crime as more residents prepare to move in.

“When I started here back in 2010, we had a lot of crime in a couple of different neighborhoods,” Doyle said. “Over the years, with a lot of people’s help, that crime rate has reduced drastically.”

Doyle, Smith-Fernandez, and other city officials are hoping that city residents will see the positive work the current police department does and support the sales tax increase.

Early reaction is positive

But they also understand they are asking a lot of residents, although early reaction has been positive, Smith-Fernandez said.

“I do know we have a lot of support from some of the public,” she said. “They’re constantly bringing stuff in for us, for the police department, and they make it very clear that they appreciate what we do here.”

That echoed what two of the city’s elected officials said during a discussion about the issue in December.

Board of Alderman President Mike Thomas said residents have told him they would support a tax increase if it meant adding to the city’s police department.

“I’ve talked to some citizens that are to the point where they will support just about everything and anything to see our law enforcement grow in this community,” he told the other aldermen. “They want to see the police continue to be supported.”

Mayor Jerry Cannon said he believed that, based on previous situations, residents would support a small tax increase in April.

“It has been the track record with this community that when you tell them the purpose and they can envision that purpose, they get behind it,” he said. “The proof will be in the pudding when we have another officer.”

What happens if it fails

But officials also know there are people out there who oppose any type of tax increase.

“It’s not lost on us that this is a tough time,” Doyle said. He and other city officials have said they are more than willing to engage in a discussion with community members.

“I’m 100 percent open to a professional dialogue,” Doyle said. “I want to hear their opposition. And I would hope that people would reach out so that we can meet and we can talk about it and discuss the needs. … I just want to make sure that everybody has as much information as possible and not just look at it as another tax because there’s a lot that comes with this. And it’s extremely important in more than one way.”

And while the city is hopeful that a majority of voters will approve the measure, Smith-Fernandez said the officials will find a way to move forward if the sales tax increase is rejected.

“We will do our best to accommodate what we can,” she said. “There’s a lot of changes here in town with the new subdivision coming in. I don’t know what that tax revenue is going to look like. I’m hoping that’s going to help with adding a new officer or those capital improvements that Chief Doyle was talking about. But that’s going to take time and we have a responsibility to be prepared for the future.”

“No matter the outcome, the Truesdale PD is going to step to the plate and be here for the community,” Doyle said.

The election is April 2. To be eligible to vote in the April election, residents must be registered no later than March 6.

About the author: Jason Koch is the editor of The Warren County Record, and covers local news and government for the newspaper. He has won multiple awards from both the Indiana and Illinois APME and from the Illinois Press Association. He can be reached at 636-456-6397 or at

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