REPUBLIC, Mo. – City leaders in Republic are celebrating after voters approved a sales tax that will benefit city police officers and firefighters.

The 3/4 cent sales tax increase will allow the city to hire more officers and firefighters, something that hasn’t been done in 17 years, even though the city’s population has grown from 8,000 to 18,000 in that time.

The city plans to hire 14 more firefighters and 12 more police officers with the additional funds.

Seargent Jamie Burks says that the tax increase will provide the community with the services it needs from the police and fire departments.

“This is going to afford us the opportunity to really provide the service that we want to provide. Not just taking a call and moving on to the next one; really take our time; provide the services that our citizens deserve that we want to provide,” says Burks.

Burks explained that being unable to provide those necessary services to the community is hard on officers and firefighters.

“You become a police officer to help people; you become a firefighter to help people. There is a reason I stayed here. There is a reason I raised my family here. When you cant provide the type of service because you are just so busy. That’s not what you go into this for,” says Burks.

David Cameron, the City Administrator, says he is also grateful for the tax increase.

“For the longest time, we were fighting with one arm behind our back, and I feel like now we can actually move forward, and I just appreciate that the community is allowing us to do that. Nobody wants to ask for an increase, but you can’t keep looking those officers in the face and saying there is nothing that can be done,” says Cameron.

Nearly 72 percent of people at the polls said yes to the sales tax increase, and the funding will also pay for training and equipping the new officers and firefighters.

The new tax increase will go into effect this fall.