BRUNSWICK –– City officials are looking to place a replacement safety levy on the ballot this November.
“We are here to try and secure long-term funding for our safety forces,” City Manager Carl DeForest said Monday during a Council safety and environment committee meeting.
The current five-year levy, which was passed in 2017, will expire in 2022 and is a 2 percent temporary income tax levy that generates about $19 million a year. The aim is to have voters make the temporary levy permanent.
“Our goal is to extend this at 2 percent in perpetuity,” said DeForest.
“This does not generate additional money to hire additional people. This just solidifies the current funding.”
Funds from the levy will help pay salaries at both the police and fire departments and help to maintain the level of service the departments provide to the city.
The levy is considered a replacement levy and not a renewal because the city is proposing to change the original terms voters first agreed upon in order to keep a secure source of funding for safety departments in the city.
“Hopefully, the citizens of Brunswick will be behind that and I believe they should be,” said At Large Councilman Brian Ousley.
Ward 3 Councilwoman Andrea Rodriguez, whose family suffered through a house fire when they first moved to the area, has a personal perspective when it comes to safety services within the city.
“I understand the needs deeply,” Rodriguez said. “I am very much on board with this.”
Committee members voted unanimously to move the levy legislation to Council. It will be discussed at the next Committee-of-the-Whole meeting and will go through three readings before Council votes to move forward with placing it on the ballot in November.
“I think Council will support this,” Council President Mike Abella said.