Police Officer & Firefighter Funding
Posted on 12/15/2023

Voters Could Decide to Dedicate Funding to Police Officers & Firefighters

April 2, 2024  - Voters could decide on a real estate and property tax levy dedicated to police officer and firefighter salaries and benefits.

For every $100 in ASSESSED property value there would be an increase of approximately $0.25 in tax (25 cents). With the typical home valued at $200,000, and some additional personal property, the additional payment would be $122.13/year to support police officer and firefighter compensation. Use the chart on this page to estimate the tax increase.

Comparably Low Property Taxes

The City of Cape Girardeau has the lowest city general revenue property tax rate in the county, and among the lowest of comparable cities across the state.

  2022 Property Tax Rates of Area Cities
• Jackson  $0.5906
• Scott City $0.532
• Sikeston $0.416
• Perryville $0.3696
• Cape Girardeau $0.3057

2022 Other Missouri Cities
• Wentzville $0.5843
• Jefferson City $0.4698
• University City $0.448*
• Columbia $0.4032
• Cape Girardeau $0.3057


For 2023, Cape Girardeau city has levies of $0.3042 and $0.0570 for general revenue and health, respectively.
* University City has rates up to $0.68

SOURCE: 2022 Missouri Auditor's report.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much property and real estate tax does the city currently collect?
The City currently collects $2 million/year of real estate and personal property tax to support essential services in the General Fund accounting for police, fire, street and park maintenance, and other services. This revenue only accounts for 7% of the $30 million General Fund budget. Other special funds are accounted for separately. Among those special accounts is the Health Fund. The Health Fund is supported by a $0.0570 levy and supports Nuisance Abatement at the Police Department. Read more in our budget at cityofcape.org/budget

What happened to the Use Tax?
Use Tax supports the City employees and essential services as promised to voters. Use Tax revenue has been a critical component of the City’s ability to fund our initiatives enhancing employee benefits and improving the pay plan.  Our new pay plan was implemented effective July 2022.  The cost of that plan was $2.5 million annually.  In addition, we have been able to upgrade the pension plan, add additional paid holidays, and absorb the cost of increased health care without passing that to our employees.  Preservation pay has been paid the last two years and there was an additional 3% pay increase to all City employees effective July 2023. Total to-date has been $5.6 million. Use Tax accounts for 7.25% of the General Fund. This recurring revenue is needed to support these recurring employee expenses every year.

How is casino revenue used, why can’t it be used to support public safety?
Casino revenue has been used for public safety projects like the police station, radio interoperability, and other projects such as the historic Common Pleas City Hall project. We report expenses to the Missouri Gaming Commission every year and they publish the list on their website. Salaries and benefits are annual and long-term commitments, thus we do not tie our workers’ futures to a single, volatile funding source like casino revenue. We use casino revenue for one-time projects, sometimes paid over a few, but finite, number of years as allowed by the policy.

What happened to the already approved public safety tax?

City voters approved a fire sales tax renewal in 2014 to fund the police and fire facilities and vehicles. In 2020, voters also approved a sales tax for the County/Sheriff’s Office only (the City’s Police Department does not receive revenue from the county tax).

Why not use money from other departments to fund public safety?
City funds are governed by laws and voter commitments. Public safety is already the largest General Fund expense, accounting for 58% of the GF. In the total budget, safety is second only to infrastructure. In the current year, the public safety department had budgeted for $18,666,759 in operating expenses.

Comparison of City General Revenue Levies in Missouri

The graph includes regional cities, and others from Missouri. For a full accounting, review the 2022 Auditor's Report.

Area Property Taxes

Estimate Your Potential Additional Household Contribution to Public Safety

With Real Estate (Typically Home Owners)

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Without Real Estate (Typically Renters)
No Real Estate