City of Montrose considers sales tax hike for public safety

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MONTROSE, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- There is a push by people in the City of Montrose to raise the sales tax in hopes of making their community safer.

A group of citizens and the police chief went before the Montrose City Council at their recent workshop meeting to talk about the idea of getting more funding for the police department.

"[Montose] has the recreation and scenery and all sorts of good things,” said John Nelson, the president of the Montrose Regional Crimestoppers.

Something the city doesn’t want to be known for is property crime.

"This is a cancer and somehow we have to find a way to remedy it,” he said.

Nelson said the city has a 60 percent higher crime rate than the national average.

"We were having a difficult time staying with the call load on a daily basis and we need more people as a result of that,” said Tom Chinn, the city’s police chief.

But Nelson said raising the sales tax is a potential solution.

"Nobody likes taxes but I think people want to feel safe and want their community to be safe,” said Mayor Roy Anderson.

The tax increase would help with public safety and get more officers on the street.

"We're looking at hiring 14 other police officers and one city attorney,” said Chinn.

The department wants to do more than just react to calls.

"Proactive calls would be taking care of crime before it occurred,” said Chinn.

It comes at a price and it’s a price most folks aren't a fan of.

"The issue about taxing and raising taxes is one we want to do very carefully and responsibly,” said Anderson.

"We need to do this for officer safety and for our community and we need to do this for the citizens of Montrose,” said Chinn.

The next step is to look at how much money the police department needs and how much of a sales tax increase would be necessary.

Those numbers could be ready by council's next workshop on June 4.

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