City: Public safety could suffer without additional sales tax revenue | The Daily Courier – Arizona News

City: Public safety could suffer without additional sales tax revenue | The Daily Courier – Arizona News

Editor’s note — This is the fourth in a series of articles looking into the financial woes of the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS), and Proposition 443, the City of Prescott’s sales-tax-increase measure that will be on the Aug. 29 primary ballot.

When massive heartburn and chest pains signal the onset of a heart attack, seconds can count.

Prescott Firefighters and Lifeline Ambulance staff demonstrated that this past week by going through the steps of treating a heart attack victim — checking vital signs, starting chest compressions, setting up a stretcher.

It was all a part of a drill during the Aug. 3 meeting of the Prescott Area Wildland Urban Interface Commission (PAWUIC), but the intensity of the demonstration made several critical points: Each of the responders plays a role, and quick response is crucial.

Both factors are in jeopardy, however, as the city faces higher and higher costs from its public-safety pension, say officials.

Proposition 443:

What if it fails?

While views vary on the need for the city’s ballot measure asking for a 0.75-percent sales tax increase, officials say an erosion of public-safety services is a near certainty without additional revenue.

In recent years, growing costs with the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS) have led to a series of city staff cuts. In late 2015/early 2016, the city froze and trimmed a number of positions in all of its general-fund departments, and officials say more of the same is in the future if the sales tax fails.

In the fire department, for instance, Chief Dennis Light points out that…

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