The City of Dickinson’s sales tax is 1.5 percent, and the city commission would like the voters to add to it a little.
“I would say we have over 400 signatures, and our goal is to have around 600 signatures,” said Scott Decker, Mayor of Dickinson.
Mayor Decker and the people of Dickinson are working diligently to put a half cent sales tax initiative on the Fall ballot.
“Sixty-percent of it will be divided equally between fire and police, so they will each get 50 percent of 60 percent, and that will help their budgets”.
Mayor Decker also said the additional sales tax could also create property tax relief.
“That will allow us to free up some general funds for other items within the city”.
Dickinson Fire Chief Robert Sivak said additional funding will be useful for hiring more personnel and maintaining the department’s equipment.
The Dickinson Fire Department had 649 calls for service in 2017, 200 more than in 2016.
“We are seeing our equipment used more than ever before. We are seeing our calls increase, as our trucks are out literally everyday,” said Sivak.
Mayor Decker said the other 40 percent will be put into a fund which will be dedicated to creating a new training facilty and purchasing new equipment for the departments.
“Our primary goal is to build a state of the art safety training center on the Southside of Dickinson . . . which includes classrooms, an indoor shooting range, a 100 meter range.
Lt. Mike Hanel of the Dickinson Police Department said, “At present time our department has to travel several miles North of the City to conduct our rifle shotgun training”.
Lt. Hanel also said the officers have to drive to Bismarck sometimes to conduct some of their training, like emergency driving .
“It creates a training hurdle. In order to get officers to that facility it takes time and officers away from the street”.
Lt. Hanel also said additional funding could be useful in hiring additional school resource officers and increasing their presence on the drug task force.
Mayor Decker said the half cent increase could create about two-million dollars annually for the police and fire department.