EUREKA - Voters may get a chance in the near future to decide the fate of the one percent public safety sales tax currently in place, but county board members will likely discuss the matter in more detail before any action is taken.
On Nov. 13, the public safety committee began a discussion about whether the tax should stay in place or be changed. Voters approved a referendum to assess the one percent tax in November 1998 to primarily pay for building a new jail after previous referendums failed. The county sold bonds to build the jail and has been paying them off using revenue from the sales tax. However, more money than is needed to pay the bonds is being generated. By law, the county can use the excess for “crime prevention, detention and other public safety purposes,” according to the referendum language.
“It opened a new revenue stream and the general fund gets subsidized by public safety,” committee chair Jason Jording said.
The tax has generated between $1.7 million to $1.9 million annually for county coffers to pay public safety-related expenses along with the bond payment in recent years.
See article on Nov. 23 Woodford County Journal newsstands