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Publish Date: 10/21/2006

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From left: Longmont Mayor Julia Pirnack and former mayors Bob Askey, Leona Stoecker, Al Sweney and Fred Wilson support the safety tax. The mayors gathered at Thompson Park on Friday to show their unity.Times-Call/Lewis Geyer

Mayors endorse public safety tax


LONGMONT — Mayor Julia Pirnack and four of her predecessors held a press conference Friday afternoon in Thompson Park to stump for the city’s public safety sales tax on November’s ballot.

If approved, the measure would generate an estimated $5.3 million in its first year. The funds would help city police and firefighters respond more quickly to emergencies and increase their staffing.

“Public safety is, for most people, paramount,” former Mayor Leona Stoecker said after the coalition of mayors posed for a photo.

The sales tax increase would levy an extra 3.25 cents on a $10 purchase. Police would use the funding to devote more officers for street patrol, school safety and cybercrime. The fire department would use part of the money to open and staff a new station in central Longmont.

While no formal opposition to the tax exists, resident Paul Tiger urged voters to shoot down the measure during the Daily Times-Call’s election forum Oct. 12.

Tiger attributed emergency crews’ dropping response times to city leaders who have allowed Longmont to grow rapidly over the past decade.

When asked about that argument Friday, former Mayor Bob Askey dismissed it, saying the types of crimes police respond to are becoming more severe.

“When I was a boy, we didn’t have gangs,” said Askey, who led the city from 1979 to 1981. “Now we do.”

Brad Turner can be reached at 720-494-5420, or by e-mail at bturner@times-call.com.

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