Letter: Approve public safety tax

May 23, 2014 

Over the past 15 years, the population in the county has increased and so has the impact to the criminal justice system. The impact of youth gangs, the lack of adequate services for citizens with mental health issues who end up in jail and more violent crimes by young offenders is overcoming the resources of our community. Our local law enforcement community needs our help in meeting the growing need for police and court services across Benton County.

As voters we have the opportunity to support local law enforcement efforts by investing your tax dollars in support of the Benton County public safety sales tax initiative. This tax is specifically intended to fund local law enforcement needs such as increasing the number of officers available to respond to calls, adding a judge and more prosecutors, continue funding the local drug task force and drug courts, and create other important crime prevention programs. After 10 years, the tax goes away and must be voted on again.

I encourage voters to learn more about the ballot measure at citizens4safecommunities.com. Join me in investing in our community safety by voting to support the Benton County Public Safety Sales Tax. You'll be investing in our future.

MARK PANTHER, Richland

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