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County plans meetings about jail proposal

Staff writer

Marion County Commission will have at least five public meetings in March to discuss a proposed jail, which would be paid for with a 0.5 percent sales tax increase if a ballot question passes April 5.

Meetings are scheduled for March 21 at Florence City Building, March 22 at Hillsboro Senior Center, March 23 in Marion City Building basement, March 28 in Goessel City Building, and March 30 in the Peabody-Burns High School cafeteria. All meetings will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Sheriff Rob Craft is also trying to schedule a meeting in Tampa, probably March 29.

The meetings were announced Tuesday night when Marion County Commission met with six former members of Marion County Public Safety and Law Enforcement Center Committee.

Former committee members Randy Hagen and Don Kraus said they were disappointed the committee’s idea for a flat per-property owner tax was rejected by the Kansas Attorney General’s Office. Hagen said he didn’t think all avenues were exhausted in an effort to allow the flat tax.

“You guys know I’m against sales tax,” Hagen said.

He said his opposition isn’t based solely on his involvement in a major retailer — Hillsboro Ford. Residents of Peabody and Goessel already do a lot of shopping in Newton, and wouldn’t pay their fair share on sales tax, he said. It would also drive business out of the county, he said.

Commissioners said that if the sales tax doesn’t pass, the county will probably have to finance a new jail with property tax.

Last modified March 10, 2011

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