The message at a protest gathering Monday in Independence was simple: no new taxes.

The message at a protest gathering Monday in Independence was simple: no new taxes.

With signs present that read, among other things: “no more shell games” and “don’t let the city clown around with your money,” between 60 to 70 protesters gathered on the north side of City Hall to rally against an Aug. 4 ballot question that could add an additional three-eighths of 1 percent sales tax to retail purchases in the city.

The tax, if approved, would fund more police personnel and improved services, including the construction of a new police precinct on 39th Street near Centerpoint Medical Center.

“There are a lot of folks who simply cannot afford any more taxes,” said protest organizer Marilyn Wright, former Independence City Council member.

“If you vote yes on this then that says you are OK with the way the city is spending our money.”

According to city officials, the police services sales tax, if passed, is projected to produce about $6 million annually and would be used to add a total of 60 police officers and civilian support staff to the Independence Police Department.

A citizen oversight committee would be responsible for monitoring the expenditures of the sales tax, much like an existing oversight committee monitors the use of funds from the current one-eighth of 1 percent public safety sales tax that applies only to the capital needs of both the Independence Police and Fire Departments.

“They are trying to pass this through without anyone knowing about it,” said political activist Michael Mikkelsen. Mikkelsen joined the protest at the behest of Wright. “It’s unbelievable that a city would propose a new tax when we have a record number of layoffs in this country.”