Knoxville officials discuss how your tax dollars are spent

Knox County (WVLT) - Your tax dollars and how they'll be spent are the topic of the day in Knoxville's city business.

Laura Zahn is walking around her Fort Sanders neighborhood with her 19-month-old son Oliver. She feels safe now, but not always.

"I am concerned about crime, because it seems like every week or two there's a story about somebody being attacked or robbed or something," Laura Zahn says.

Laura thinks the solution is simple.

I think that police should just patrol more. I never see cops around this area, especially at night," Zahn says.

Will Laura get her wish for more police presence in her neighborhood? Questions like that come down to how much money is in the budget. The Police Chief is presenting his department's wish list for the upcoming budget year to the Mayor. One thing he is not asking for, more officers.

"We are authorized a total of 416 sworn officers, at the present time we do not have 416 sworn officers. We have been working very hard for the last four years to get our ranks filled," Knoxville Police Chief, Sterling Owen, says.

Chief Owen thinks the City may be able to get the numbers up from 390 now to 416 by later in the year. But even then, will it be enough? The Mayor says technology can promote efficiency, giving officers more time to patrol. But can police really do more in neighborhoods without significant additions to the force?

"That's the challenge of government period. We'd like more patrolmen, we'd like more sidewalks, we want our streets paved quicker, but we don't want to pay more taxes," Knoxville Mayor, Bill Haslam, says.

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