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A letter to the editor...
Proposed Sales Tax Hike  
February 14, 2012 

Mr. Robinson, 

After reading your blog piece on the County’s proposed sales tax hike, I would offer a few comments: 

There has been much revisionist history about the jail, like the statement “It was built to last 25 years, and it has cast iron pipes.” I’m sure the local officials who approved the design would disagree, and I guess some people today think the pipes should be plastic. 

When the jail was designed and built in 1982 it was “state of the art” and the only type of facility that the state and local officials could or would approve. (check the names on the bronze placque in the entrance) There have been many changes in jail design over the past thirty years, as expected, and no, the jail does not match modern design. As to the doors, they were built and installed by an area firm and, as in all jails, were a proprietary design and fabricated at their facility. I believe the company went bankrupt a few years later and that is why parts are not available--they must be fabricated.

 If the jail is proposed to be “fixed”, then what is the scope and estimated cost? Complaints have been made about the facility for many years, but no specifics have been offered as to needed repairs or changes. 

Most recently, a Commissioner has proposed nearly $4 million of new taxes but only $1/2 million of stated, defined need. Anyone who has money in the bank in CD’s, etc. will scoff at the “interest-bearing account” statement, since $1 million in passbook today earns about $1000 per year, and a $million in CD’s a whopping $4000-$5000. 

Lest anyone become confused over the “capital improvements” statement, there is not one cent of this tax that is proposed for roads and bridges. Besides 9-1-1 equipment, (which is within the Sheriff’s Department), and the jail, the only other specifics are the purchase of new Sheriff’s cruisers and a vehicle for the EMA. 

The Sheriff’s Department is the County’s most respected and supported governmental unit, and as such may be granted the additional money by the voters. 

Even so, in the current economic conditions for most taxpayers, it would seem obligatory for any government official to clearly specify what this nearly $4 million will be used to enhance or correct, not to languish in a slush fund awaiting a new political epiphany. Additionally, a specific time limit should be fixed and, most importantly, honored upon its arrival. 

Expectedly, some of the proposed purchases made from the new taxation will relax an equal amount of burden from the County General Fund and the disposition of these amounts should be known as well. 

For what’s it’s worth, I think these things are important and should be addressed before approving this issue. 

John Q. Taxpayer 

Editor’s Note: The legitimacy/identity of the author of this letter has been verified per CNO policy. Questions, concerns or responses may be sent to County News Online at editor@countynewsonline.org, and will be forwarded to the author.


 
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