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Majority of sales tax revenue comes from entire county

Contract needed for feeding inmates since nursing home is closing

Staff writer

When Marion County Commission was discussing sales tax revenue at Monday’s commission meeting, the members requested specific tax information from Marion County Treasurer Jeannine Bateman.

The information told a different story than what most thought.

At previous public meetings to discuss the proposed new jail project, some Hillsboro business owners indicated that Hillsboro businesses, particularly the car dealerships, contributed the majority of sales tax revenue in the county.

However, the information obtained at Monday’s commission meeting indicated something different.

The treasurer could not reveal specific information about individual businesses because of confidentiality restrictions but she did indicate there were eight businesses in the county who contribute the majority of sales tax. Those eight businesses are not solely Hillsboro businesses but are located throughout the county.

In 2007, sales tax amounts collected from those top businesses ranged from 23.4 percent to 32.4 percent per month. So, even if those eight businesses were all located in Hillsboro, they still would not provide the majority of the sales tax dollars.

Some business owners had expressed concerns about a one-cent sales tax that is on the Nov. 4 ballot, and how it might affect their businesses, particularly those who have customers from out-of-county. If approved, the one percent sales tax increase would pay the bonds for a new jail project.

Feeding inmates becomes issue

In a note that was handed to Marion County Commission Randy Dallke during the commission meeting, Marion County Sheriff Lee Becker told the commission that he was looking for a way to provide meals to inmates in Marion County Jail.

Golden Living Center of Marion had provided meals to the jail but recently announced it was closing by the middle of November. In his note, Becker said he had contacted St. Luke Hospital but the hospital was not interested.

“A solution is to transport prisoners to Chase County,” Dallke read from Becker’s note.

Holub said he would talk with Carlsons’ Grocery.

The commission discussed options including providing fruit and cereal for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and find a business or individual interested in providing a hot supper.

Out-of-town contracts were not an option because of time and fuel costs.

Other concerns were whether the jail had to follow dietary requirements and how the food was prepared.

More comments about the jail project

At the close of Monday’s commission meeting, Dallke made these comments.

“This commission has worked diligently to provide a proposal so Marion County could re-coop operating expenses for the jail with the income from a larger jail with out-of-county prisoners.

“If the proposal is turned down, we’ll have to look at other options. We’ll have to pursue one of those options that can be approved by citizens.

“Whatever we do, there willb e costs to the county.”

Holub also made comments.

“We could be stuck with option three which would be to rehabilitate the jail. Hauling our prisoners to other counties is an option but jails can increase their charges because they know we don’t have other options.

“Dispatch which sets under a tin roof and hasn’t been remedied. We need more staff. I don’t like exporting dollars. It could cost $170,000 per year to house inmates out-of-county. We’ll still have to house prisoners here, short term, even if they are hauled elsewhere.

Commission chairman Bob Hein said he liked the idea of having a task force with county residents being representatives on the committee to help determine options.

Last modified Oct. 29, 2008

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