NIXA, Mo. – Nixa City Administrator Jimmy Liles sent OzarksFirst a statement regarding the police and parks tax that voters denied on Tuesday.
Voters in Ozark also voted down a use tax that would have gone to the police department, prompting leaders at that city’s department to say they would likely be forced to make cuts to certain programs.
Election Day Results and Resources
Read the full statement from Nixa’s City Administrator Jimmy Liles below:
Although the election results have not yet been certified, it appears Nixa voters have rejected the city’s proposal to provide more funding for Nixa Police and Parks.
While we respect the decision of the majority of Nixa voters to maintain the current sales tax rate, unfortunately, this decision by voters means the municipal government now faces some very difficult challenges.
We will not be able to expand the Nixa Police Department Headquarters.
We will not be able to hire more Police Officers in the foreseeable future without making serious cuts elsewhere in the budget. In order to add each additional officer, the city must budget for salary, benefits, equipment, training and half the costs of a police vehicle. These costs add up to over $120,000 annually.
We will not be able to afford to build a destination Indoor Sports Complex which could have provided more recreational opportunities for citizens of all ages while shaping the next 20 years of Nixa’s future by attracting more business investment to our town.
Unfortunately, with costs of operation rising faster than the city’s revenue, we are facing difficult decisions for the 2023 city budget. Without significant additional tax revenue, we have every reason to anticipate deeper cuts to the Police and Parks Departments in the coming years. We have already cut many capital improvement projects from our spending plan, and we will need to cut more of those projects from our future plans. You can expect to learn more about which cuts will be made specifically for the 2023 budget during the next few city council meetings.
This is a hard truth that we don’t like. Our desire is to provide high-quality public services for the Nixa community and to invest continually into growth and improvement. However, we must be honest and we must set realistic expectations. Our belt was already too tight, but we will have to tighten further. The City of Nixa has not received the same sales tax increases our neighboring communities have, which is why they have been able to invest more into public safety and parks despite serving a smaller population.
Unfortunately, our budgeted expenses have been higher than our budgeted revenues for several years, and in order to maintain a structurally balanced budget, we have spent reserves to cover that deficit in each of the last 5 years. However, this is not sustainable for the status quo, and we certainly are not going to be able to increase spending. This is troubling to us because we know that in order to catch up with our community growth and then to keep up with the growth of our community, we will need to spend more in order to maintain the current quality of services we are providing.
Nixa is a wonderful, growing community and we believe in the future possibilities for our forward progress. Council and staff are analyzing the election result and are developing a plan for how to move forward. In the meantime, please continue to support Nixa businesses and please continue to support the public servants working to better our community across all city departments.