County sales tax to appear on Nov. 8 ballot

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Barry County Commission voted Monday to place a 3/16th of a cent sales tax on the Nov. 8 ballot.

If approved by voters, the revenue from the additional sales tax will be used by the county for law enforcement, according to Barry County Presiding Commissioner Cherry Warren.

The tax is expected to generate about $650,000 in additional revenue for the county. At a public forum held on Aug. 18, the Commission said the money would be used to provide additional funding for the prosecuting attorney's office and sheriff's department.

Prosecuting Attorney Johnnie Cox and Sheriff Mick Epperly both made presentations at the forum, which described an increase in caseloads, a decrease in staffing and a rise in expenses that left both offices short of the resources necessary to provide for the public safety needs of Barry County citizens.

If the sales tax does not pass, county officials will most likely be forced to make severe cuts in personnel and services.

The sales tax is being run on the ballot with a five-year sunset provision, which means the tax will expire after five years if voters do not renew it.

In the coming months, the Barry County Commission will hold informational meetings about the proposed sales tax throughout the county. At those meetings, the commission will provide detailed information about how the sales tax revenue will be spent if approved by county voters.

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