[Nameplate] Mostly Cloudy ~ 46°F  
High: 59°F ~ Low: 43°F
Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014

County officials wanting support for county sales tax

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Scott County wants half-cent sales tax to pass in February election

MINER -- Scott County commissioners are hoping for the support of Miner's Board of Aldermen in their campaign for a county sales tax.

Presiding Commissioner Jamie Burger and Commissioner Dennis Ziegenhorn met with Miner's board members during the regular monthly Board of Aldermen meeting Tuesday to discuss the proposed tax.

Burger said commissioners plan to ask voters during the February election to approve a half-cent sales tax for eight years.

In exchange for approving the tax, 100 percent of the county property tax would be abated during the eight years the sales tax is in effect, he said.

Burger said the sales tax would bring in about $1.6 million per year. With the abatement of property tax, which brings in roughly $400,000 annually, the county would end up with a net gain of about $1.4 million per year, he said.

Commissioners will put the property tax abatement in the ballot language so the abatement will continue through the life of the tax regardless of who is elected to the county commission.

Sales tax money would go into the county's general revenue fund, Burger said. Commissioners said if the sales tax is approved they would continue to transfer $800,000 to the county's law enforcement fund, $200,000 would go to support the county's 911 dispatching, and the other $200,000 would be used to pay local matches on grants.

Burger explained that revenue for 911 continues to drop because there is no 911 surcharge on cellular phones. "As people drop their land line phones, 911 funding goes down," he said.

The county's road and bridge department "stands on its own" without transfers from general revenue, Burger noted, as it has earmarked funding.

County residents would typically have to spend about $10,000 at retail stores in the county to pay as much in sales tax as they pay in property taxes, according to Burger. "It's hard to spend $10,000 without buying an automobile," he said.

Ziegenhorn said Lambert's in Miner is the biggest contributor of sales tax to the county and that most of their customers are from people who live outside of the county.

In other business during Tuesday's meeting:

* Board members approved accepting bids on the city's old fire car and maintenance truck.

"They're just sitting there," said City Clerk Janet Tuttle. "We need to get them off the insurance and out of the way."

* The Board approved putting stop signs on both northbound and southbound North Interstate Drive at Brewer Road.

The stops signs were approved as an effort to slow truck traffic down as it enters city limits.

* Board members approved sending four fire fighters to winter fire school at a cost of $120 each plus food, fuel and lodging.

Also approved was the purchase of 27 helmet-mounted flashlights at a total cost of $945 for the fire department.

Jack Tucker, fire chief, said the lights are important for fighting fires in structures at night. "Once the fire is out, it's pitch dark," he said.

* Board members approved scheduling a public hearing so the city is eligible to apply for a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant which may pay 35 percent on the purchase of an early warning tornado siren.

* The Board tabled a decision on purchasing a skid unit for the city's brush fire truck. The unit, which sits on the back of the truck, includes a water tank and pump to fight brush fires.

Board members also tabled a decision on the purchase of shotguns for the Police Department so they could get more bids.