The board charged with distributing grant money from the Jasper County Law Enforcement Sales Tax says it’s not sure whether it should give any of that money to Missouri Southern State University’s police department because that department is funded by the state.
That was a good deal of the discussion at a meeting of the Sales Tax Grant Board on Tuesday at the Jasper County Courthouse in Carthage.
This was the first year the Missouri Southern Police Department, a police department since 2008, according to Chief Ken Kennedy, had submitted a grant application to the county sales tax grant board.
Kennedy submitted a request for two used cars and uniforms, totaling either $30,000 or $36,000 depending on the option considered.
The board tabled MSSU’s request, seeking more information and an actual budget for the department.
Board member Brian Christmas said on Tuesday he was not satisfied with the new budget submitted by Kennedy.
“For me, the information that they’ve provided since the last meeting still isn’t a budget,” Christmas said. “A budget is a requirement and this isn’t a budget to me. It’s an expense report maybe, but I just don’t see a budget. I don’t know if anyone else does, but from what I’ve got, to me, it’s still not complete.”
“As far as the budget, that is our budget,” Kennedy replied. “We’re not a city so it’s not going to look like a city’s budget but that is our budget for our department so that’s the most I can do, it’s all I have.”
Board Chairman Jim Woestman said he was concerned about why Missouri Southern didn’t provide more money for the department. He said he would like to talk to someone at Missouri Southern and see why the university doesn’t provide more resources for the department.
Board member Ken Williams said MSSU’s department is different from the city departments because it is funded with state money.
Woestman said he thought the board should consider only granting money to Missouri Southern’s department in years like this one, when it had enough money to meet all the requests it has received.
Kennedy said the university doesn’t have the money to do more with his department.
“When a university is in the mode that funding has been cut, they’re looking at keeping programs operational and doing the best they can to make the students successful,” Kennedy said. “So sometimes other things, like new cars, don’t enter into the picture.”
Page 2 of 2 - The board tabled the MSSU police department request until it meets again at 10 a.m. April 9.
In other business, the board made changes to the procedures by which it awards grants and discussed changes to the grant applications.
The board approved requiring departments to have a representative at the meeting where the grants are discussed to answer any questions board members might have.
They also added a requirement that says the grant application must be complete with all required documentation or it would not be considered that year.
The board discussed a proposal by member Leslie Jones to limit its awards on cars to the cost of a used car, but the other members present, Brian Christmas and Ken Williams, did not like the idea of limiting what departments could request.
They said the board’s job was to go through the applications and approve what it thought was reasonable.