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Racine city council to ask voters for $2M for police officers


After nearly two hours of debate, the Racine Common Council voted 9 to 5 to put a referendum on the August ballot, asking voters to increase property taxes by $2 million to fund 11 new police officers.In August voters will decide if they want property taxes to increase by an estimated 3.5%. A homeowner of a $100,000 home would pay about $53 extra per year.The money would fund 11 new police officers.According to the Racine finance director, $1.5 million would go toward their salaries, benefits, training and equipment. The remaining funds would be used for other crime detection and prevention measures. Then an additional $150,000 in subsequent years will be used for the general cost of living increases.Racine Mayor Cory Mason told WISN 12 News he proposed the referendum due to an alarming spike in violent crimes.”We’ve certainly seen a spike this year in crime and gunshots. You know last year we had three murders for the entire year. We’re at six already for this year and it’s not even summer,” Mason said. “It’s a real commitment of resources, but we hope it’s also a real commitment, and an investment in public safe.” If passed in August property taxes would increase at the beginning of 2023. That’s also when the City would be able to hire the additional officers. However, those officers would need to go through the academy before officially joining.If the positions were unable to be filled, the funds would temporarily go back into the general fund to use for public safety and law enforcement.”So this is really about giving voters a voice in whether we want to invest more in public safety, or not,” Mason said.Homeowners WISN 12 News spoke with Wednesday were split on the issue. “I’m afraid to even sit in the backyard. We have a small fire pit. I’m afraid to sit out there at night,” Linda Witek said.”I pay a lot of taxes for this house every year. Every year the taxes go up, go up, go up every year,” Maria Martines said. “This is not what I bought a house for. To see having to sell it in three or four years to pay my taxes,” Kathie Barlow said.

After nearly two hours of debate, the Racine Common Council voted 9 to 5 to put a referendum on the August ballot, asking voters to increase property taxes by $2 million to fund 11 new police officers.

In August voters will decide if they want property taxes to increase by an estimated 3.5%. A homeowner of a $100,000 home would pay about $53 extra per year.

The money would fund 11 new police officers.

According to the Racine finance director, $1.5 million would go toward their salaries, benefits, training and equipment. The remaining funds would be used for other crime detection and prevention measures. Then an additional $150,000 in subsequent years will be used for the general cost of living increases.

Racine Mayor Cory Mason told WISN 12 News he proposed the referendum due to an alarming spike in violent crimes.

“We’ve certainly seen a spike this year in crime and gunshots. You know last year we had three murders for the entire year. We’re at six already for this year and it’s not even summer,” Mason said. “It’s a real commitment of resources, but we hope it’s also a real commitment, and an investment in public safe.”

If passed in August property taxes would increase at the beginning of 2023. That’s also when the City would be able to hire the additional officers.

However, those officers would need to go through the academy before officially joining.

If the positions were unable to be filled, the funds would temporarily go back into the general fund to use for public safety and law enforcement.

“So this is really about giving voters a voice in whether we want to invest more in public safety, or not,” Mason said.

Homeowners WISN 12 News spoke with Wednesday were split on the issue.

“I’m afraid to even sit in the backyard. We have a small fire pit. I’m afraid to sit out there at night,” Linda Witek said.

“I pay a lot of taxes for this house every year. Every year the taxes go up, go up, go up every year,” Maria Martines said.

“This is not what I bought a house for. To see having to sell it in three or four years to pay my taxes,” Kathie Barlow said.

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