Commissioners opt for sales tax


Commission Chairman Bob Hein asked for discussion on whether the commissioners favored a sales tax or a mix with property tax.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said he favored the 1 percent tax over any mix with property tax.

Hein noted that the 1 percent “gives a cushion.”

Commissioner Dan Holub said that with a 1 percent tax, “the worst that can happen is we pay it off ahead of time. This way everybody pays, not only here, but outsiders coming to the county too. If it came from property tax, only taxpayers from the county would be paying it.”

Dallke said, “The law tells us that the sheriff has to keep these prisoners, and keep them safe, if he arrests them. We have to do what the law tells us. If we have to house them outside the county, everybody continues to pay for them, and we’ve sent out money outside the county.”

Hein said Arteberry would need to be contacted at his Kansas City office to finalize financial planning to present to the public.

Dallke discussed still creating a public building commission because it could be used for other governing units for projects.

Deputy County Clerk Tina Spencer pointed out that Arteberry said using sales tax without property tax wouldn’t require a building commission.

The commissioners met with Mike King and Jim Costello of Hutton Construction of Wichita to discuss contracting with their firm for construction management of the jail. The two men said they had been able to save Marion schools and others large amounts of money in building projects while insuring quality.

King said the company is “at risk” in such contracts because it gives a guaranteed price for the entire project.

“If it goes over our price, we take that out of our own pocket to pay,” King said. “If it goes under the price, the savings go to you.”

Costello said, “We work with you to decide what you want and what you don’t want. We help you prioritize. We want you guys involved in your project. You wouldn’t have contractor fees on top of it.”

Holub reemphasized the importance of using local contractors in building the jail.

Costello said the commissioners could tell his company who they want to deal with, and the company could assign parts of the project according to the contractor’s abilities. For instance, he said, if a concrete company lacked the ability to put up walls, but could do some of the slabs, it could be given the slabs.

King said a company representative would be given the project to be on the job every day, doing quality control.

King said Hutton Construc­tion doesn’t leave a job once it is done, but continues to be proactive, checking back to see that guaranteed quality held up.

The commissioners also returned to discussion of putting the county on a four-day work week with longer hours per day rather than a five-day week in order to save on fuel and utilities.

Dallke said that with fuel prices continuing to go up, they would have to decide on where the county is going and where it will economize.

Holub said the savings in fuel bills and utilities could be tremendous. He said he would like road and bridge included in such a change considering the fuel savings by working on one project two extra hours a day, but sending trucks and equipment there one less time per week.

Spencer said the treasurer’s office would be the most sensitive to a change since it is required to work daily with the state. But, she pointed out, the state office already is closed for such work on Mondays, so the treasurer’s office could be off Mondays to work Tuesday through Friday.

Hein predicted that the public would soon get used to such a schedule. He said Gove County already has moved to the four-day week, and he will check with officials there to see how it is working.

The commissioners approved sending a memo to all county department heads asking them to look at possible fuel economy and savings in their departments. They directed by that they want feedback.

 

For a complete report of Monday’s meeting, visit www.hillsborofreepress.com


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