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Mesa to vote on sales tax to help funding for police, firefighters and universities

Posted at 6:47 PM, Jul 06, 2016

Building a better Mesa could mean paying more for everything you buy in that city.

City leaders have decided to put a sales tax increase on the November 8th ballot.  If approved, the .4 percent rate hike would cost shoppers 40 cents more on every $100 spent. Officials estimate the new taxes would add $38 million in annual revenue to the city.

Most of the extra funding would pay for dozens of new police officers and a new fire station and equipment. Mesa officials say they need additional help to improve response times to subdivisions under construction in southeast Mesa.

"We need to catch up," said Mayor John Giles.

The rest of the money would be directed to improvements downtown. Those include building an ASU campus near city hall and expanding Benedictine University.

"We certainly see the need for more police stations and fire stations," said downtown shop owner George Notarpole, who is not sure the proposal will pass. "ASU coming downtown may be a good thing, may not be a good thing."

"My children are going to want to live here and have productive careers here and be able to be hired by good employers here." Giles said. "We need to attract them [employers] to Mesa, and the way we do that is by having an educated workforce."

The graph below shows what a comparison of city sales tax rates would look like if the hike went into effect.