PITTSBURG, KS.--- The Pittsburg City Commission held a study session on the Public Safety Sales Tax and a regular scheduled meeting tonight. Both the fire and police chiefs reported to the city commission about where the money from the Public Safety Sales Tax is going towards. A half cent sales tax was implemented last year in Pittsburg to go towards the fire and police departments as well as technology upgrades for the city.
Fire Chief Mike Simmons says they will be able to expand their training and equipment over the next several years. The police department says they will be using the money to fund staffing and equipment. Police Chief Mendy Hulvey says they will be able to staff more positions, one including having two communications persons on at all times. This sales tax money is expected to generate close to $11 million over the next 10 years.
"Finally, we are on track to get these positions on board so that we can provide much better service to the community," said Mendy Hulvey, Pittsburg Police Chief.
"I really appreciate the community support in this. Without it, it wouldn't have happened. These are much needed things that we just did not have the funding for in our normal budgets. So without that, they wouldn't be possible," said Mike Simmons, Pittsburg Fire Chief.
A commission meeting was also held tonight where the commission approved a grant for the Choices Family and Emergency Shelter. The shelter is administered by Southeast Kansas Community Action Program Community. This grant is worth around $225,000 and will cover operating costs for the emergency shelter for at least a year.
"It gives the community a place for housing. They'll do a lot of programs through there, whether it be a temporary sheltering. Also, they try and go through and actually get people back into their own homes again and so forth," said Troy Graham, Planning and Community Services Director.
Also at the meeting, the commission approved the amount of $45,000 from the revolving loan fund to pave a new parking lot downtown. The parking lot will be located in front of the farmer's market, across the street from Hutchinson Field on Larry Garman Avenue and Broadway. This parking lot will be available for the community and other organizations to use.
"This will be a good tool, an economic development tool, to be a gateway to the City of Pittsburg so they seeing this as a good use of the funds in order to provide parking for various organizations," said Bill Beasley, Public Works Director.
Beasley added this new parking lot will give a more aesthetic entrance into the downtown area. The construction is expected to start this summer and be completed by September.
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