Commission to Put County Law Enforcement Sales Tax on April Ballot
In light of recent budget shortfalls and the mounting expenses of the Lawrence County jail because of out of county boarding of prisoners, a deteriorating facility and the safety of both inmates and jailers, the Lawrence County Commission has voted to put a County Law Enforcement Sales tax on the April 2017 ballot.
Lawrence County is one of the only area counties that does not have any type of law enforcement sales tax to support its county law enforcement functions. The county has always had to rely on funds brought in from general revenue to support all county offices including the Sheriff's Office.
The County Commission is proposing to the voters of Lawrence County a 1/2 cent sales tax. This tax primary purpose will be to build and maintain a new jail facility as well as other county law enforcement services. This also includes services from the prosecuting attorneys office which also had to reduce its staffing by one person because of 2017 budget cuts.
In 2016 Lawrence County paid over $200,000.00 to other counties to board prisoners for Lawrence County. This does not include the cost for overtime of deputies doing the transports, fuel and vehicle expenses.
Also in 2016 three jailers were attacked and seriously injured by inmates because of in adequate staffing. The facility itself underwent a renovation in 2009 but those repairs are now starting to cause more issues.
If passed by the voters, this would be the first county law enforcement tax ever passed for Lawrence County.
If it is not passed, there will likely be more cuts to the Sheriff's Office budget. Already for 2017 the Sheriff's Office is having to cut 4 positions from its staff.