Commission approves one-cent sales tax for new jail

Staff reporter

It came as no surprise Monday morning when Marion County Commission expressed support for a one percent sales tax to pay for a new county jail.

Previous discussions had indicated that the threesome believed the sales tax option would be the most fair for Marion County taxpayers.

The decision to go with a full one percent instead of three-fourths was determined by the commission to allow a cushion for the $700,000+ per year bond payments.

Projections provided by bond counselor David Artebury of George K. Baum Company at last week's commission meeting indicated that a one percent sales tax would provide sufficient funds for the annual bond payment with a reserve which could be used for early pay-off.

The sales tax only can be used for paying the bond payments. The tax cannot be used for operations or personnel.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said he was in favor of the sales tax because the sheriff is required to house prisoners after arrested and is supposed to keep them safe.

"We have to do our jobs because the law says we do. If we don't get a facility, we'll still have to pay for prisoners in a different location," Dallke said.

Commissioner Dan Holub likes the sales tax concept because everyone will pay, not just property owners.

Commission chairman Bob Hein agreed.

A public building commission will not be needed at this time since the commission will not use property taxes for bond payments.