I am working with more than 100 individuals of Jefferson County to circulate a petition asking the county board to honor the pledge made by an earlier board to use the Public Safety Sales Tax for jailhouse debt reduction only and to immediately return all monies taken from that account for other purposes.
The tax came about as the result of a 2005 board generated referendum asking the voters to pass the sales tax to keep the jail bond payments off the property tax. At that time a pledge was made by the board members that all monies generated by the tax would be used to retire the jail debt only. The voters responded by voting for the tax by a two to one margin.
The pledge was kept until this past year when a new board, under new leadership, took $380,000 from the special account and spent the funds for other purposes. if this practice continues, an increased property tax must be used to pay off the jail bonds.
Although the Referendum is advisory only, it will send a strong message to the present and future boards that the voters believe the Public Safety Sales Tax should not be used for any other purpose than retiring jail bonds.
To place the issue on the ballot, we must obtain at least 1,013 signatures of registered voters (8 percent of all votes cast in the last gubernatorial election). The deadline for filing the petitions with the county clerk is Aug. 4, 2014.
If you are approached by a circulator of the petition, I urge you to sign it. You may also want to circulate a petition yourself. Each sheet contains lines for 15 signatures. If you want to help in this endeavor you may contact me at 242-3592 and I will get a blank petition to you.