Commissioners discuss how to find tax money for jail

The Marion County Commission decided Monday to vote in a week on how it would generate tax funds to support bonds for a new jail.

The question on whether to approve this tax for bonds on a new $8.5 million community corrections center will come before the countywide vote?? in the Nov. 4 general election.

In discussions with Tony Rangel and Dennis Smith, architects with Law/Kingdon Inc. of Wichita, the commissioners seemed to be leaning toward a 1 percent county sales tax that bond counsel projected would generate $960,000 annually with $251,113 surplus to meet a $708,887 annual bond payment.

David K. Arteberry, the bond counsel with George K. Baum & Co. of Kansas City, said the surplus would be required by the state to be kept in a bank account from which bond payments could be accelerated for quicker payoff.

He was working on a possible basis of 20-year bonds at 5.25 percent interest with a 2 percent issuance cost for the 72-bed facility. Arteberry said that would mean actual pay-off in 15 years, although if the pay-for-stay jail generated sufficient income, it would be paid off sooner.

Smith said he would expect 25 percent of the sales tax money to come from non-Marion County visitors.

Rangel said the most vocal protests to such bond issues backed by sales tax normally come from furniture stores and car dealerships.

Commission Chairman Bob Hein said he has visited with automobile dealers in Sumner County, where such a jail was built on similar proposition, and the tax there hasn?t affected their business.

Arteberry said that is because the state of Kansas has spread car dealer taxes among all the counties. He said the taxes no longer belong to just the county where the dealer is located.

Arteberry said Lyon County passed a jail bond ?overwhelmingly,? and the sales tax there hasn?t affected car dealers.

Hein said he favors sales taxes instead of using property taxes. Commissioners Randy Dallke and Dan Holub agreed.

Other options included the following:

  • using a .25 percent sales tax to generate $240,000 with a 4.115 mill levy to generate $468,887 annually;

  • using a .50 percent sales tax to generate $480,000 with a 2.009 mill levy to generate $228,887 annually;

  • using a .75 percent sales tax to generate $720,000 with no mill levy to produce an $11,113 surplus annually.

    Dallke said he not only wants to decide on the tax next week, but also wants to proceed with creating a public building commission for the project.

    Arteberry said a building commission only will be required if property taxes are used to help with the project. One outside advantage to creating the commission, he said, is that the county could use it again for projects or allow other government entities, such as cities or school districts, to use it for projects.

    Holub said that in public educational meetings to come, he wants the public to gain the understanding that the jail is not an ostentatious fancy project for the county, but a necessary, austere fact-of-life type facility that a county has to have in some form.

    Smith said, ?The more information we can give the public, the more they will understand that you need the project. Nobody wants to build a jail, but we have to be able to incarcerate people in the right, correct, safe way.?

    The cost of the jail discussed was over a million dollars more than the previous figure discussed because Rangel and Smith brought additional figures for beyond the structure itself.

    These included the following:

  • $80,000 to the City of Marion for site acquisition in Batt Industrial Park

  • $667,000 for site development,

  • $102,600 for 57 parking stalls,

  • $180,000 for furnishings and equipment,

  • $8,000 for signage,

  • $80,000 for construction related expenses such as testing and utility fees,

  • $550,528 for a construction management fee,

  • $550,528 for architectural and engineering fee,

  • $412,896 for contingency,

  • $40,000 for contingency fee.

The meeting also was the end-of-the-month payday session with a $723,550 payday figure.

County Clerk Carol Maggard announced the sales taxes received in June, collected by the state in May, and generated by merchants in April, totaled $46,327. That places the total received for the year at $280,158, which is $11,184.65 ahead of the same time period last year.

Bobbi Strait, planning, zoning and environmental health director, discussed her trip plans to work for two weeks as a building inspector for Federal Emergency Management in Iowa flood areas at FEMA pay and expense by federal request.

The commissioners approved moving a sewage lagoon for Brandon Cummings at 140th and Goldenrod that was mistakenly placed on land owned by Rod Peters.

Strait and County Attorney Susan Robson helped negotiate the settlement that was caused when Strait said she measured for Cummings from inaccurate property legal description given him when he bought his 13 acres.

The commissioners said they would also work with Peters to restore the land as a quail buffer grassland he is contracted with the U.S. Natural Resource and Conservation Service to maintain.

Dallke said the incident shows a need for the county to require a registered survey of property before allowing location of lagoons. He said descriptions given by lenders and realtors without survey sometimes are inaccurate.

Strait said latest sanitation codes in the county were written 15 years ago, and they needed to be updated.

Gayla Ratzlaff, director of the elderly, got approval from the commissioners for appointment of Linda Peters to the area aging council transportation district board that succeeds Kansas Department of Transportation administration for the department?s transportation program.

She said that Marion County Home Care reported serving 24 five-gallon tubs of ice cream during Chingawassa Days.

Ratzlaff said there was one mill levy request from Hillsboro Seniors in June for $700 to help pay property and workman?s compensation insurance.

Rollin Schmidt, noxious weed, household hazardous waste and transfer station director, said the northeast and southwest quadrants of the county have been road sprayed for noxious weeds, and spraying has begun on the other two quadrants.

He said musk thistle growth and violations by landowners in not controlling the thistle are bad right now during a time when abundant rainfall has generated high thistle growth.

?I?ve never seen it so bad,? he said.

Schmidt warned there may be prosecutions coming for some landowners who fail to control the thistle.

Schmidt said commercial and demolition waste tonnage is high at the transfer station now with many people replacing hail-damaged roofs.

The commissioners gave him permission to charge extra fees for persons who bring trailers in that are difficult to unload, and may require unhooking and tipping with a fork lift because they are tying up the station floor while other loads wait.

Hein said a high rate of old roof shingles disposal is likely to last for another month.

Schmidt said the tractor from the road and bridge department has been used several times in addition to the private hauler to take more semi loads to the landfill.

Holub asked Schmidt to see if Hamm Quarries at Perry might let the county out of its current landfill contract to allow shorter hauls to Salina because of the high fuel costs.

The county approved area and transport fuel bids from Cardie Oil of Tampa for 12,050 gallons of diesel and 2,500 gallons of gasoline that totalled $57,966 over a competitive bid from Cooperative Grain of Hillsboro for $58,207.

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