Columbia City voters approve tax levy for police
Updated May 19.
Preliminary election results show Ballot Measure 5-287, which would renew a property tax levy to fund Columbia City police services for the next five years, passing with 71.5% of voters in favor.
The measure increases the current levy to $0.90 per $1,000 in assessed value, up from $0.67 per $1,000.
Despite the cost increase for property owners, the measure appears to be passing with far more support than in previous years.
The last five-year levy was approved in 2016, with 61.4% of Columbia City voters in favor. The levy was first approved in 2011 by a smaller margin, with 51.1% of voters supporting the measure.
The growing willingness to pay more for law enforcement may be due to an increase in crime — primarily petty crimes like theft and trespassing. Residents of the city began organizing an informal neighborhood watch system last year after an uptick in thefts in late 2020 and early 2021, though thefts dropped back down.
The Columbia City City Council referred the ballot measure to voters this year, taking a risk by increasing the rate. Columbia City's permanent tax rate is just $1.13 per $1,000 in assessed value, meaning the new levy for police will create a significant percentage increase in property taxes for residents.
The new levy is projected to generate approximately $163,805 in the next tax year.
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