A proposal to increase the sales tax in Grand Island, Nebraska has restarted tensions between a police union and the mayor of the city. A message posted on the Facebook page of the Nebraska Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #24 expressed the union's displeasure with what the union deems as a misrepresentation of their stance by Mayor Jeremy Jensen.
FOP #24 responded to the mayor's claim at a city council meeting that the union was on board with the proposed sales tax increase. The union made it clear through the posted message that this was not their position and said that it cannot provide support for the ballot measure as it is currently presented. The union went on to say that they do not know where Mayor Jensen received information that suggests otherwise.
Mayor Jensen returned fire a day later with a post of his own via social media. In the post, Jensen warned that a failure to pass the ballot measure would result in serious consequences for future Grand Island budgets. Jensen also explained that he was told of the union's support for the measure while engaged in a meeting with Zack Moul, a representative for the fire department in Grand Island.
The mayor explained that he does not know why the union has changed their tune on the issue and also expressed that their reason was not a concern to him. Jensen did concede that FOP #24 President Jarret Daughtery informed him through an email that the union would not be supporting the measure but contends this was in the days following the meeting with Moul.
The police union takes exception to information being disseminated suggesting that the budget shortages for the city are due to spending and maintenance for public safety personnel. The union believes that the bigger problem is unrestrained spending by other city personnel and says it is unlikely that the tax increase will provide a long-term solution to the problem .
Mayor Jensen says that the irony of the stance taken by FOP #24 is that the police department would be one of the largest beneficiaries of the tax increase.