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Be prepared to vote

By Christy Porter, Managing Editor

 The Licking News met with the two aldermen seeking re-election and the candidate seeking election and is sharing their qualifications and goals, as well as presenting information on Proposition P. Voters will have the opportunity to make their choices on the April 5, 2022, ballot.

Photo by Christy Porter
Joe Dillard

Joe Dillard has been serving as alderman for Ward 1 for two-years and is an uncontested incumbent, seeking re-election for the upcoming two-year term. His public service has also included 10-12 years on the Licking Planning and Zoning Commission.

Dillard came to the area in 1986 with the Department of Conservation; he retired from the George O. White Nursery. He moved to the City of Licking in 1991, the final of 33 lifetime moves. He has resided in both small and large communities over the course of his lifetime. Dillard has a degree in Business Administration from Drury College and a degree in Horticulture from Missouri State University.

He currently works with his wife at Triplett Liquor and says of his service on the city council, “I like to see the city thrive. Because I live in the city and have a business here, I have a vested interest. It’s good to be a part of your community and help as you can.”

Q: What do you feel has been accomplished during your tenure on the Licking City Council?

A: “During my city council involvement, I believe we now have a better handle on the budget and finances. There is a better working relationship with city employees; we have a good crew. We are working on remedying the rundown properties within the city limits. The water improvement project has begun and is ongoing, and we’re working on sewer improvements and procuring funds.”

Q: What do you hope to see accomplished in the future?

A: “I would like to see a solid tax base established, both in industry and retail. I would like to see us attain the procurement of grants for the water and sewer projects. Also, we need to have the infrastructure in good shape, and keep the police department viable and the city safe.”

“I wish more people were involved in the process of local government. It has truly been an interesting experience with many learning opportunities. The involvement includes utilities, the law, federal requirements, and the expense of a functioning government. Identifying the needs of the community, gathering the facts, acquiring the funding or grants, locating the expertise to do the job, and seeing it through to the completion of the job are all factors that must be dealt with,” shared Dillard. He is also pleased to see the establishment of the Industrial Development Association.

Photo by Christy Porter
Mike Aiken


Incumbent Mike Aiken has served three full terms, totaling six-years, as alderman for Ward 2 and is seeking re-election for the upcoming two-year term. Aiken is a member of the Licking Chamber of Commerce, and as a member of the City Council, he is a member of the Missouri Municipal League, a lobbyist and training resource for local government organizations. He served six-years on the Licking R-VIII School Board, and has previously volunteered at the Lions Clubs and Rotary Clubs in other communities.

Aiken was a supervisor and manager with a telephone company for 32 years, an accounting teacher at Texas County Technical Institute for one term, worked as a substitute teacher for 13 years, and was the first Economic Development Coordinator with IECA. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Lindenwood University-St. Charles, and has been married to his wife, Sandy, for 39 years.

Q: What do you feel has been accomplished during your tenure on the Licking City Council?

A: “I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to learn about the oversight of the city during the past six years of serving on the city council.”

Q: What do you hope to see accomplished in the future?

A: “Passing the bond issue for the water project three years ago is a positive step forward, so my first goal if re-elected would be to see the water project through to completion.

“Additional priorities for the council for our area are a lack of job opportunities, especially for our younger generations. The infrastructure is old and in need of upgrading. We need to continue to move forward with the sewer project, and we also need to build revenue.

“We have a conscientious and dedicated work force; the challenge for the city is providing them with the resources and revenue for them to do their job.

“A goal going forward is establishing and developing a new Industrial Development Association in cooperation with Intercounty Electric, to receive and utilize grant funds.

“I currently serve and wish to continue to do so because giving back to the community is what we’re supposed to do and it is what I try to do,” said Aiken.

Photo by Christy Porter
Linda Breedlove


Linda Breedlove is a two-year term candidate for Ward 2 alderwoman, having just recently moved into the city limits, making her eligible for the candidacy. Prior to the move, she and her family have been residents in the county outside of the city limits of Licking. Her husband and children attended Licking R-VIII schools, they shop locally and are community members of Licking. Breedlove is a military spouse and is retired from GLWACH at Fort Leonard Wood as a radiology technologist. She has also served on the Texas County Board of Health.

Q: Why do you wish to serve on the Licking City Council?

A: “I want to become an asset to the community, working with the city departments and experienced council. I would like to see the town revitalized and this done with community excitement. I would like to use my experience in locating resources and getting things done. I see myself as a community member, an eye and an ear of the community for the community.”

Q: What do you consider the priorities of the council?

A: “I have a vision; I want to see growth that includes growing existing businesses and promoting new business. I would like to see employment opportunities that would give our graduating kids a reason to stay in Licking. While I don’t currently know how to achieve this, I am a quick study, and would like to be a team player with the benefit of the experience of others. I would also like to see Licking with a more inviting appearance that promotes community pride and civic duty. I want Licking to be noticed and recognized.”

Q: What do you hope to achieve by serving as alderwoman of Ward 2?

A: “I would like to use my experience to help Licking receive more funding and grants that are available, including those from the county entities. These would help make walking trails, gardens and other beneficial opportunities for our citizens.”

Law Enforcement Prop P

Law Enforcement Prop P will be on the April 5, 2022, official ballot for the qualified voters of the City of Licking.

“Shall the City of Licking, Missouri impose a city sales tax of one-half of one percent (1/2 of 1%) to provide revenues for the operation of the Police Department?”

The sales tax would authorize a collection of a sales tax, in addition to other taxes, on all retail sales made in Licking. Licking currently has an 8.1 percent city sales tax that is inclusive of a general city tax of 2 percent, a county tax of 1.875 percent and a state tax of 4.225 percent. The Prop P sales tax would increase the city sales tax to 8.6 percent, which is comparable to other areas and would be for the purpose of providing revenues to only the Licking Police Department.

This City of Licking Police Department sales tax will be a separate ballot issue from the Texas County Sheriff’s Department sales tax of 3/8 of one-cent, with funding being exclusive to their separate departments.

A Man Power Assessment Formula by the Missouri Police Chief Association states that for every hour of committed time in answering a call, you need three hours of non-committed time. This non-committed time includes writing the report, court time and investigation of the crime. Using their formula, a violent/serious crime requires two hours of committed time; that single crime becomes eight manhours. Less serious/misdemeanor crimes require one hour committed time and four manhours, traffic accidents six manhours, and service calls two manhours. For an understaffed law enforcement department providing 24/7 coverage, it can easily run into overtime that could be utilized toward an additional officer’s salary.

Using this formula Licking should payroll nine officers plus the police chief; currently it employs four full-time officers plus the police chief. With revenue generated by the sales tax, if passed, Chief Pat Burton prioritizes the hiring of a school resource officer and one additional full-time officer. At this time he feels the department could adequately fulfill its responsibilities with that staffing. He also would like to make existing salaries competitive and provide additional specialized training for the officers.

There are grants available and used whenever possible for overtime pay and equipment, however they do not always fill the specific needs of the department. Grants do not go toward salaries (other than specific overtime campaigns), to hire and retain qualified officers, nor toward benefits for those officers.

The average starting pay range for a law enforcement officer in Texas County is $15.40; in the surrounding area the average is $16.30. The South Central Missouri area average is $20.42 including different branches of law enforcement. The Licking police department starts out just below the county average.

As call volume and the severity of crimes escalate, costs (not just financial) increase for the department, the city, the county and the citizens.

The population tax base would suggest approximately $140,000 in revenue generated by the passage of Prop P; if passed it is planned to be used for manpower and necessary equipment, including ammunition.

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