B.A. Police, Fire Unions Back Vision 2025 Tax Renewal
On Nov. 10, Broken Arrow voters will go to the polls to decide whether the existing Vision 2025 sales tax should be renewed.
John Cockrell, president of the International Association of Firefighters Local 2551, and Thomas Cooper, president of the Fraternal Order of Police 170 Lodge, both say their organizations are solidly behind the proposal.
Two questions will appear on the ballot. One will make available a dedicated resource of $3.9 million for public safety needs that include the hiring of 20 new police officers and 20 new firefighters. The other will add $3.3 million to improve traffic flow and update 118 lane miles of streets.
In designing the tax extension proposition, Cockrell and Cooper said city leaders kept a clear focus on those things badly needed to help make the community a better place to live and work. High on that priority scale is public safety manpower.
Cooper pointed out that Tulsa has one police officer for every 508 citizens. Broken Arrow has one officer for every 807 citizens.
“The fact this is one of the safest cities in America is a tribute to the skill and dedication of the men and women in our department,” he says. “But the reality is we now have more than 100,000 residents and more families are moving here every day. As our population continues to grow, something simply has to give.”
Cockrell said firefighters face a similar scenario.
Over the past 10 years, he says, responses by department personnel have grown by 88 percent while the number of full-time firefighters and paramedics is up only 22 percent.
“A ‘yes’ vote allows us to maintain seven fully staffed, properly equipped stations to provide the best possible fire protection and deal with medical emergencies every firefighter has been cross-trained to handle,” he says.
Polls open Nov. 10 at 7 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m.