FAYETTEVILLE: City weighs tax increase to pay for more officers - WNCN: News, Weather

Fayetteville City Council weighs tax increase to pay for more police

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Fayetteville Police Chief Harold Medlock at a police academy graduation. Fayetteville Police Chief Harold Medlock at a police academy graduation.
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -

Fayetteville City Council heard a proposal Monday night that could end up putting more police officers on the city's streets, while also costing taxpayers.

The city manager outlined a tax increase as part of a new budget that would pay for 57 new police officers and 11 other positions within the police department. If approved, it would be the first property tax increase for the city in 13 years.

The tax increase, which amounts to 4 cents per $100, would add about $63 to the tax bill of the average homeowner in Fayetteville. But that tax increase is being met by a mixed response, and not everyone thinks the increased patrols are worth the extra cost.

"If the economy was better I wouldn't mind a bit," said Emma Hunnicut, who owns a downtown jewelry store. "But since it's the way it is, it's just hard for people to get by."

On the other hand, Dr. Patrice Carter said she thinks the city needs more "quality" police officers and there is no price that can be put on security.

"I just see the issue here in the community -- the people hanging out in the street, the gang activities and things of that nature," Carter said. "I don't think there's enough quantity of police officers to help each other out and support the growth we've experienced."

Although the city recently swore in a new class of recruits in March, Fayetteville Police Chief Harold Medlock said he needed even more officer because the new officers are only filling the gaps left by attrition.

"By having the additional officers on the street, it eliminates a lot of opportunity for criminals to do their activity," Medlock said.

Medlock said an additional 72 positions will help him reduce crime. He asked city council to approve 55 new officers -- including 34 patrol officers and 21 detectives. He also wants to add two supervisors, and 11 support positions that are not sworn officers.

Medlock said the number of officers he asked for was determined by months of research.

City council has until June 30 to debate the budget, make changes and have a public hearing before finally voting.

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Steve Sbraccia

Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.  More>>

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