The Marion County Commission learned last week that the Kansas Attorney General’s Office returned a neutral opinion on whether the county could levy a per-taxing-unit assessment to finance a new jail.
The news was discussed at Friday’s payday meeting.
The commissioners said that by the wording of a letter from the KAGO, there is no precedent for such an assessment, and there is nothing in Kansas statutes to say it can or can’t be done.
The commissioners determined that Mike Kleiber, chairman of the Marion County Law Enforcement Center Committee, which was created to determine whether, and how, to build a jail, would be called yet that day to reconvene the committee to make decisions based on the letter.
Committee members in earlier sessions had suggested a temporary monthly $10 per-taxing-unit assessment to finance a jail.
With the KAGO opinion, and with the knowledge that the state will have determined by Dec. 31 whether the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline will be tax-exempt for 10 years, the commissioners said they will know by the end of the year how to proceed with jail financing.
Commissioner Dan Holub said the KAGO letter probably means the jail committee created an entirely new idea with the assessment. Alternate financing options would have been to build the jail with bonds supported by sales or property taxes.