Written by Hillsboro Free Press Tuesday, 29 March 2011 15:11
Hillsboro?does not want the county seat
A reporter on the Marion County Record’s website last week anonymously quoted “a prominent Marion resident” as saying “prominent interests in Hillsboro were opposed to the tax and new jail it would help finance because ‘they want to get the county seat away from Marion.’”
Either the reporter gullibly took the person’s joke as a serious comment, or the person quoted is sadly misinformed. In my 27 years as mayor, I have never been involved in, or aware of, any discussion suggesting that Hillsboro should try to become the county seat, much less manipulate an election toward such an end.
I would hope anyone who read that comment would see it for what it is: absolute nonsense.
Mayor Delores Dalke
It’s time to be adults and face reality
This letter is in response to the folks who are organizing to defeat the sales tax for a new jail. The county has been attempting to solve this issue for a very long time now. However, there is no magic solution.
This issue has been looked at by commissioners, law enforcement, lawyers, architects and citizen committees. In short, everybody who should know anything about it.
This is the reality: (1) Our jail is not up to minimum standards and must be replaced with a new jail; (2) The new jail has to be paid for; (3) The longer we argue about it, the more it will eventually cost.
What alternative do we have? “Let’s go back to the drawing board and get it right.” The drawing board is worn out. Your “flat tax” proposal is probably unconstitutional.
If you succeed in defeating this proposal, all you will accomplish is forcing our law enforcement officers to waste time and money transporting prisoners all over the state to who knows where and back again.
After more “study,” another proposal, about like this one will come up again, only more costly because of the delay.
This issue is not going away. Defeating this proposal will not save us any money. In the long run it will cost us more.
I don’t like new taxes any more than anybody else, and I wish we didn’t have to build a new jail. But wishful thinking won’t make this problem go away.
We have spent enough time whining and complaining. Now it is time to be adults, face reality and do what needs to be done.
Let’s move forward, not backward
This county is dying. It is dying because we are losing residents. We are losing residents because this is a backward county—too many people are against progress, against new business, against new development. They don’t want to see change.
If we don’t change, we won’t have to worry about it anyway because the county will eventually die, reach the point of no return.
Once we are dead, the only way the county will be able to support itself is through property taxes. There won’t be any business or commercial or industrial property to pay taxes to support the county.
When the owners of the existing businesses phase out, no one will buy them—or if they do, they will move them somewhere else. Then more burden will fall to the property owners. Then more people will leave. Then fewer people will move here. And we will stay dead.
This jail issue is an example of the “don’t do anything” mentality that has got us into this situation. I agree that the first proposal for a jail was too expensive. It was this that killed it, not just the sales tax.
This new proposal is within line. The only thing better would be for the city and county to go together and build a joint law enforcement center like McPherson and McPherson County did several years ago. It is working very well.
But heaven forbid that Marion and Marion County could ever work together, or any other two entities in Marion County, for that matter.
The fairest way in my mind to fund this project is through a bond issue and property tax. The second best way to pay for it is sales tax. Using either method to get the funds, the issue will only cover the construction of the facility, not the ongoing expenses. Those will come out of the county general fund, which is covered by property taxes.
I feel this issue was misrepresented in the recent flyer that was mailed in the county. If the general fund can’t cover operating expenses, property taxes will go up regardless of how the jail construction is funded, or however we have to handle the jail population. The flat $10 fee is the most unfair of them all.
Sales tax has no impact on my decision as to what or where I buy something. That decision is based on need, availability, opportunity and frequently impulse.
It seems the car dealers always get brought up on the sales-tax issue. I thought Kansas’s destination-based taxes took care of that issue. If you live in Marion County and buy a car in Reno County, you still pay Marion County taxes. In reverse, if you live in Sedgwick County and buy a car in Marion County, you pay Sedgwick county taxes. Or do I not understand this correctly?
Another example of the poor cooperation of county residents and leaders is the economic development committee that had to be disbanded because they couldn’t get along with each other. Each one wanted just what they wanted rather than a taking broad look at the needs of the county. Some of the needs at the reservoir is another. If we were to go back just a few years, there are more.
Another issue is people object to others making money. An example of this is the cabin proposal at the Marion County Lake. Some people don’t like the idea of someone else making money. They think the lake is off-limits to this. The lake is supported by county taxes, fees and a little from the Kansas Wildlife Department.
This (cabin proposal) will increase the public use of the lake. County revenue will increase from the lease charges and a share of the cabin rental fees, and the cabin renters will spend money in the county and the city of Marion. All this reduces the amount of support needed from the county treasury.
This is economic development and some are against it. Some are concerned the county is at risk in this venture. I assume the county lease will protect us from financial exposure. The only ones taking a risk are the developers and the bank.
At least someone in the county is willing to take a risk on a new venture. After all, the U.S.A. was built by risk takers.
Come on, Marion County, let’s wake up before it is too late and start moving forward. Let’s get things done without all the petty battles.
Businesses aren’t the ones paying sales tax
This county is dying. Whoever sent out the “Vote No” on the 1/2 percent tax to build a new jail, I would like to comment and find out more about it. It looks as though business is the ones paying most of the taxes.
Could you tell me how much sales taxes the businesses pay if they don’t have any sales? I figure that would be zero. So in reality, the businesses are not really paying the biggest part of the sales tax, they’re just handling the money for those who do pay it.
Of course when the business person goes out and buys something retail, then he would become a taxpayer also, and if he bought the most expensive item in the county, then he would be the one paying.
Now, if we were talking about $2,000 or $3,000 more on a new car or (as they say, the big-ticket items), then I could understand where there could be a problem. But $150 on a $30,000 item—I don’t see where that would make a whole lot of difference.
But $120 more taxes on someone on Social Un-security, I can.
We have enough politicians dictating how to starve the senior citizens without a car dealer trying to help. Maybe they could move their dealership to Durham and be at an advantage over the rest of the county.
I voted no on the last (jail proposal), as it appeared to me they wanted to have a resort that looked like it belonged in South Padre Island. This new idea seems to be more tailored to fit this county.
As for being a fair way to fund a new jail, the sales tax is without a doubt the fair way to go versus putting an extra tax burden on property owners in this county who are already stretched pretty tight. For the most part, the majority of the people th
at frequent the jail are the ones who don’t own anything.
I have been around this county for over 50 years and have never had an opportunity to be in the facility they have. I might have came close at one time or another, but that would have been back when I didn’t own anything either.