Reno County commissioners will put a half-cent sales tax increase before voters to pay for a new jail.
The increased sales tax would help pay for the construction of a new jail along with renovation of the old jail and security improvements at the Reno County Courthouse. It would also pay to relocate offices of the county clerk, treasurer, register of deeds and appraiser, which would have to move because of the security changes.
The costs of the projects is estimated at $28.9 million dollars. Supporters of the measure say the old jail building is outdated and overcrowded. Voters have said no before to plans for a new jail.
The issue would appear in the April 2nd election. If voters say "yes" to the tax in April, the county says the new tax would start no earlier than Oct. 1.
Reno County Administrator Gary Meagher says the increase would last only as long as it takes to pay off the bonds used for the project. Based on current sales tax collections, Meagher says that would take eight to 10 years.
If approved, here is what the ballot question will look like:
- Shall the following be adopted? Shall Reno County, Kansas, be authorized to (i) impose a one-half percent (.50%) retailers' sales tax (the "Sales Tax") for the purpose of paying all costs necessary to (a) construct, equip and furnish a new jail facility in the County, and (b) renovate the existing jail and annex facilities to allow for additional police and sheriff’s department space and for use by other County departments, and make security entrance improvements to the courthouse (collectively, the "Jail Improvements"), with collection of such Sales Tax to commence on October 1, 2013, or as soon thereafter as legally permissible, and to sunset and expire upon the payment of all costs incurred in the financing of such Jail Improvements (including the retirement of any bonds issued and payable from such Sales Tax); and (ii) issue sales tax general obligation bonds (the "Bonds") in an amount not to exceed $28,900,000, provided that the County receive, prior to such issuance, a comprehensive feasibility study that indicates the revenues received from such Sales Tax will be sufficient to retire such Bonds without the necessity of levying any ad valorem taxation, all pursuant to K.S.A. 12-187 et seq., as amended?
In short, a "yes" vote means you approve of the tax increase, a "no" vote means you do not.