Our View: Council, tax payers should support plan
Portsmouth Police Chief Charles Horner is on the right track with his suggestion of a .2 percent income tax levy that would finance a drug task force in the city.
The levy is expected to generate about $600,000 that would be a direct investment in the local efforts against illegal drug activity.
With the correlation between drug activity and crime, this would be a quality of life investment.
Ten new police officers would be added - six drug enforcement officers, two officers dedicated to repeat offenders, an intelligence officer and a grant coordinator.
“From the perspective of law enforcement, it is a major investment in safety,” Horner said.
The Portsmouth Daily Times - following an October series on prostitution that partly illustrated the drug culture - challenged local leaders to find innovative ideas that could diminish this cancer of our community.
Even if this levy does not reach the ballot or fails, it is at the very least refreshing to see a local leader offering up a practical solution to one of the area's hurdles. Not that every idea should be an additional tax, but dialogue and a respectful exchange of opinions on how to better things here is always welcomed and appreciated by the public.
As this newspaper has stated before, taxpayers will approve tax increases if they believe their dollars are a good investment. Community leaders and citizens from every corner of the city agree that addressing problems related to drugs and crime should be a priority for the city.
This levy proposal will give voters the opportunity to send a message that they are willing to invest in a safer community. If the issue winds up on the May ballot, we recommend a public forum that would include the mayor, the police chief and other public officials who could explain the drug problem and give a specific explanation as to the effect the task force would have.
If illustrated in such a way that taxpayers can see the reward for such a levy, they will pass it.