While there is nothing with which to really draw a comparison, the sales tax approved for a new Logan County jail has set what seems to be a strong baseline.
The first full quarter of sales tax collections for the jail netted the county more than a quarter million dollars.
In April the collection was $84,088.09, in May the county received $90,031.54 and in June the take was $89,114.65 for a total of $263,234.28. Each of the April through June collections do reflect a considerable increase from the March figure of $79,170.47.
Duplicating the quarterly returns would mean the county would net about $1.05 million per year.
Because taxes collected in January are remitted to state in February and back to the respective municipalities for which they were collected in March, March was the first month the county realized money from the tax.
The tax passed easily a year ago today (July 12) but due to timing requirements involving challenges and a requirement that collections begin on the first day of a quarter, it did not take effect until Jan. 1 of 2017.
The measure passed by voters calls for a half cent to build and equip the jail, which is repealed after jail debt is retired. The remaining half cent is to operate and maintain the facility.
Approved last July was a $13 million bond issue. Initial jail bids exceeded that, 13.8 million but and deductions only brought the project down to $12.4 million, still considerably more than the $10 million in bonds already on the market. Later estimates were lowered to 10.9 million through other changes including the removal of a courtroom in the facility.
Because the bids were also taken on a 132-bed jail county officials have instructed construction managers to reopen the bid process for a 100-jail bed as was discussed in four public meetings leading up to the vote.
Logan County Judge Ray Gack said he didn’t know why bids were for the larger jail and Justice of the Peace Mike Schluterman characterized the incident as miscommunication or a misunderstanding.
The new plans, which will take a month or more, will include the courtroom as well, according to Gack. The judge is hoping construction of the jail, to be built on county owned land on South Lowder Street in Paris, begins by Sept. 1.
The county is building a new jail because the present facility, located on Grober Street in Paris, built in the 1980s, has consistently been cited for violations of jail standards, ruled overcrowded, understaffed and unsafe.