West Salem village board tables potential public safety referendum until Jan. 17

WEST SALEM (WKBT)- West Salem’s village board voted Tuesday night to table a decision to place a public safety referendum on the April ballot.

Village trustees are considering asking village residents to approve a $500,000 recurring referendum to hire three more police officers. The village board president says that would equal a $228 annual property tax increase for a $200,000 household.

West Salem Police say calls for service have doubled within the last 10 years to 8,000 calls a year, and current staffing numbers do not allow the department to provide the village with 24/7 coverage.

“There are hours in a given week where there’s not an officer on duty and that’s becoming more and more concerning as the calls for service rise,” said board president Scott Schumacher.

During Tuesday’s discussion, one board member brought up the fire district needing a new tanker truck and asked the village clerk if some of the $500,000 could go toward that, but the clerk pointed out that any other requests placed in a recurring referendum would need exact financials and would have to be acted upon on annually.

The board tabled the referendum to the next meeting on Jan. 17 to get all other clarification questions answered from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

All official referendum questions must be submitted to the county clerk by Jan. 24.