A group of concerned citizens has filed a lawsuit against the City of Texarkana, Ark. over police pay parity with the Texas side.
“Repeated attempts by concerned citizens have been made to the Mayor and City Manager to account for and set aside the funds collected from the special local sales and use tax approved by voters in an election on January 9, 1996 that was to increase payroll for TAPD officers.” Said Texarkana Lawyer Brent Langdon. “Our firm delivered a draft of the Petition to the City Attorney on November 28th and informed the City that we would delay filing the suit for fifteen days while we attempted to reach an amicable resolution. The City has chosen to completely disregard this attempt to resolve the voter-approved obligation to the TAPD officers.”
In 1996 voters approved a pair of quarter-cent sales taxes to fund keeping police and firefighter salaries as high as those on the Texas side.
“The City officials have and continue to place the funds collected from this tax into its general fund to bolster their financial condition and for purposes that the citizens did not approve in the election,” said Langdon. “As a result of this continued indifference to those concerned citizens and the officers, there was no alternative other than to file suit with the Circuit Court.”
Langdon said, “We have requested the Court to declare that the funds from the approved tax be set aside and accounted for in a dedicated fund, for these funds to be used for the Police Department’s payroll in the future and directing payment be made to current and prior police officers. Ultimately the citizens are concerned about the long-term safety of the community, just as they were when voters approved the tax.”