Updated May 23, 2024

At the latest city of Independence budget committee meeting, the majority of the committee voted to approve an amended city budget for fiscal year 2024-25. The amended budget includes directions for staff to persist in exploring opportunities to decrease a proposed public safety fee. Additionally, Additionally, the committee directed staff to increase some event fees to capture more tourism dollars. At the June 11, 2024, city council meeting, the city council will review and further discuss the amended budget.

To reduce the spread of misinformation, the city has provided this Frequently Asked Questions page that addresses inquiries related to the proposed public safety fee. This page will be updated if/when more questions arise.

Currently, no. The city will place an Arts and Culture Operating Levy on the ballot(s) in 2024-25 to support the Independence Public Library, the Independence Heritage Museum, and city parks. If passed, this will generate $1.065 million per year and translates to a rate of $1.82/$1,000 assessed value or about $548 per year on a home valued at $300,000. If this levy fails, the city will begin to close those departments that would have been funded by the levy.

The budgeted costs of operations for the museum, parks, library, and police department for the 2024-25 fiscal year are as follows:

  • Museum – $210,162.
  • Parks – $384,247
  • Library – $559,112
  • Police – $3,796,057

The city’s General Fund is expected to collect $2.7 million in property taxes in 2024-25. These limited funds support the museum, parks, library, and police.

The national average for police staffing is typically used as a benchmark for assessing police coverage and is currently 2.4, stated as the number of sworn officers per 1,000 population. The city of Independence currently has 15 full-time sworn officers, including the Chief. Adding 7 more sworn officers would allow Independence to near the national average for a city population of 10,000.

The proposed public safety fee is meant to provide the funding to bring the Police Department near the national average over the course of 4-5 years by funding the $1.06 million annual cost of 7 additional officers (salaries, benefits, equipment, supplies, etc.).

No. If a public safety fee is put in place, it will ONLY be included on the city’s utility billing as a means of collection.

The amount of the public safety fee has not yet been set. The amended city budget approved by the budget committee included direction for staff to find a way to potentially reduce the proposed public safety fee. Therefore, the amount of the fee is still under review and will be discussed at the June 11, 2024, city council meeting. If a public safety fee is part of the adopted budget, it will be placed on the monthly city utility bills beginning in January 2025.

Currently, if adopted, city staff anticipate the public safety fee to be added to city utility bills beginning in January 2025.

City staff are currently meeting and identifying options to reduce costs of service in the General Fund specifically as well as identifying potential alternative revenue sources as a means to provide for long-term stability of the General Fund. The timing and implementation of the public safety fee, including phasing in the fee, is currently being discussed to mitigate the impacts of that fee on resident rate payers.

The city council will review and further discuss the city budget at their June 11, 2024 meeting, with an additional opportunity for public testimony.