ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
The public hearing last Tuesday about the proposed justice center for Marion County provided a first glimpse of what the county commissioners likely will put up for voter approval in the future. The cost of construction was estimated at around $15 million and would require increases in both the county’s sales tax rate and property tax rate to pay for it. No estimate was presented on how many tax dollars it would take to operate the facility once it was open for business.
What we voters need to hear is a thorough explanation of why it makes economic sense to pursue the project. Without hearing a well-researched case for building the justice center-beyond the need for a better jail facility-the financial logic of the project remains beyond our imagination.
We assume Tuesday’s meeting was only the first of several public presentations before the proposal goes to a vote, possibly in April. Right now, it sounds like an extravagance that defies logic, much less our collective pocketbooks. -DR