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|Warren Voters to Decide on Public Safety Sales Tax Proposal
|The voters in Warren County are essentially being asked to save jobs and services by approving a tax when they go to the polls in November.
Several county officials and residents who call themselves "Warren County Citizens for Public Safety" have spent the past several months promoting a proposed public safety sales tax, which would add 1 percent to certain items purchased in Warren County if it's approved at the polls. Warren County Sheriff Martin Edwards says the county has a $200,000 budget deficit, and passage of a public safety tax would generate an estimated $600,000 a year.
Edwards says the county board has given its blessing to put the tax on the ballot, and he tells WGIL there may be no choice but to eliminate jobs and services if the referendum doesn't pass.
"Let's face facts. If you don't have the monies to pay for the services, you're gonna have to cut them. And nobody wants to use that as some kind of a scare tactic, nonetheless that's just reality."
Edwards says he needs $950,000 to operate the sheriff's department next year, and $600,000 in new revenue would take a huge burden off of the county's general fund. He says during the three years he's been in office, the department has done all it can to stay within budget. That's in light of higher costs, a bulging population at the nearly 100-year old jail, and other miscellaneous issues that come up and cost money.
The sheriff says his department desperately needs another road deputy and a jailer, which the department could hire with the additional funds, and passage of the tax would also ensure the continuance of 24/7 law enforcement and emergency services for Warren County.
The proposed 7.25 percent sales tax would go into effect July 1st if the voters approve it.
|10 27 08 by Newsroom
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