The April 3 election saw the property tax proposal fail by a huge majority, 72 percent to 28 percent. I cannot remember an issue failing by such a large percentage since I have been a resident of Independence, and that goes back nearly 45 years.

The April 3 election saw the property tax proposal fail by a huge majority, 72 percent to 28 percent. I cannot remember an issue failing by such a large percentage since I have been a resident of Independence, and that goes back nearly 45 years.


Why did this happen, and where to begin to explain such a disaster? First, certain Independence elected officials claim, inappropriately and incorrectly, that the citizens just didn’t want to pay any more taxes and that “opponents’” dialogue was aimed at confusing voters. No, that isn’t the answer. It goes much further.


Let’s look at the Independence Events Center. The City Council decided, in some fashion, not to allow its citizens to vote for the approval of funds to finance and construct the Events Center. Instead, a special taxing district was created, and those businesses in that special district would be allowed to determine whether an increased sales tax would be appropriate to fund the construction of the center. The issue passed. Why was this special taxing district created, and why was the issue not placed before the voters? The quick and dirty is this: The City Council lost complete faith in its citizenry to pass the issue to build the center. They apparently thought this was their only alternative. How wrong they were. This loss of faith was evidenced from the many letters to the editor that appeared in The Examiner.


Next up, the disaster known as the “Bass Pro Project.” I’m not going to spill a lot of ink here simply because most readers already know how mismanaged this fiasco has become. This project has cost the city at least $10.5 million. In addition, it has cost the jobs of several city workers and it has cost other city workers time off without pay to make up for loss of revenue.


Quickly, let’s go back about two years ago. A sales tax issue was placed before the voters to fund resources for the Police Department. The issued failed by a fairly large margin. A host of Independence residents came out strongly against it, claiming that the city already had the money to fund further police resources.


Then more recently, the city analyst resigns because, she said, the City Council and mayor would not allow her to do her job.


And now the current failed issue to raise property taxes “ ... for the purpose of funding services provided by the police department ...” Look at those last few words of the ballot language: “... funding services provided by the police department ...” What does that mean? Proponents said that it meant to hire more police officers and more dispatchers, but that isn’t what the language said. In other words, the language was deceptive at best and poorly worded, but the voters saw through this measly attempt to circumvent their intelligence.


The City Council has essentially lost the respect of its citizenry, and it will be very difficult to regain this same respect. And with that failed vote, the Police Department will have to do without additional revenue to hire more personnel and fund necessary services that it probably needs.


And who is to blame? Clearly, the City Council and its city manager, no question. Will they get it? Who knows?