No new tax?
According to our county administrator, this sales tax we have coming up for a vote is not a new tax. Mr. Sund, you are calling this tax just an extended tax. How do you extend something that does not exist? The sales tax for the sports complex is over with. What is the big deal calling it what it is? Is it so hard for our county leaders to tell us exactly what they intend to spend the money on? Having not seen a ballot yet, are the Commerce Bank building and the 601 Main building part of the project?
Speaking of the 601 Main building, why are we spending all that money on it when the Commerce building is less than two blocks (door to door) away? All we have been hearing for the last several years is it would be more efficient to have all the people in one building. Can anybody give the county taxpayers an idea what the cost will be to keep those people at 601 Main? The way I see it, why pay for all hook-ups for water, sewer, lights, gas, roofing repairs, air conditioning, etc., when only half of the Commerce building is needed at the present, according to earlier reports.
After reading Sunday morning's paper, about the $14.3 million project coming up for a vote, again no mention was made as to whether the Commerce building and the building at 601 Main are included in this $14.3 million project. But, don't worry, fellow taxpayers. Our commissioners keep saying that they don't want to raise property taxes. Could it be that they are planning on using the money that will be coming from the big property tax increase that is coming in December of this year?
And the reason? Ellis County has a lot of oil wells. You would think with all that oil money coming in, our taxes would go down. Our home property taxes are going up $55 for every $150,000 of property value. Just think how many houses are going up around $250 to $300 per year. What does the price of farmland have to do with what my house sells for? I know the commissioners are going to say they have no control over the price of land, but they sure as hell have control over what we pay for property taxes.
Back to the vote coming up. It is not always how we pay for a project. A sales tax will have a lot of people paying for something. What raises our taxes is the upkeep and all the extra people they are going to hire. Just the jail alone is going to cost us a lot more than the $209,000 per year it costs to take prisoners somewhere else. Right now, our present taxes are paying that $209,000 already. You can't even hire four or five people for that money, considering the wages, the retirement pay, the medical benefits and the people you have to hire to cover for vacations, weekends, sick leave and holidays.
Can the commissioners give us an estimate as to how many people they have to hire or would they rather not do that? Just remember one thing. It's not always how easy it is to pay for a project, it is the increase in taxes that come with those projects just to keep them.
A case in point: The sports complex. Was it an easy way to pay for it? We all know that. Where do the $100,000 (or more) per year come from just to keep it? We all know that too. Yes, property taxes.
Vote your conscience. Vote your pocket book. Just vote.
About that picture in the paper Sunday. Does that mean if you get a new jail you can throw all those "shackles" away? Looked kind of naive to me. If the sheriff was insinuating that with a new jail he can throw the shackles away, then maybe he can throw some prison guards away, too. Just an afterthought.
To the Hays residents, I say this. Just think, that in four or five years, how many hundreds of thousands of dollars per year will have to come from somewhere to pay the bills?
Vernon S. Befort