NIXA, Mo.– While the City of Nixa has grown over the years, some facilities haven’t.
“We went from about 12,000 people to about 24,000 people on the course of about 20 years,” said Drew Douglas, Director of Communications for the City of Nixa. “And we’ve not doubled the size of our police department or our parks, facilities and things like that.”
Nixa Police Department began to raise the issue of a policing budget shortage earlier this year, saying that currently the police department alone spent about $3.7 million, while the city brought in just $3.4 million, a fund that contributes to more than just the police department.
In response, City Council is discussing a possible tax levy that would raise the city sales tax by 1%. The money would help fund a new police station and the hiring of at least 11 more officers, which would cost around $14 million.
Part of the money will go toward a new rec center and sports complex, which carries a price tag of $25 million.
The levy, if approved by City Council, would head to voters this November. If passed, it would be the first increase in 35 years.
“A lot of things have changed in our community since 1987,” Douglas said. “Our population was not even a fraction of what it is today. And we went from a very small rural little community to a pretty big suburb. We’re the second largest community in southwest Missouri behind Springfield.”
One speaker at Monday night’s meeting said she is all for giving police what they need to keep the city safe, but feels money should be put into revamping current parks and not new indoor facilities.
“I am not concerned about raising taxes for parks and for police, we do a great job there and I want to support that,” Elizabeth Dudash-Buskirk said. “I want the building. I want everything intact. I’ll give a 2% raise if you want me to for that because I want to feel safe, but what’s the point of building up a police department to feel safe when you’re doing everything indoors anyway.”
Another Nixa resident believes the levy would be money well spent.
“We feel safe living here,” Tamara Yancy said. “So I feel like, uh, you know, raising the taxes to continue to help us was a great use of money. Also all the time. And I definitely feel the growing pains they’re talking about.”
The Nixa City Council will be voting on Monday, August 22, whether or not to place the issue on the November ballot for Nixa voters to decide.