Logan County Board revote leaning
toward Public Facilities Tax vs Public Safety Tax
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[August 19, 2019]
On Thursday, August 15, the Logan County Board held its monthly
workshop to hear committee updates and set the agenda for Tuesday’s
meeting. One focus of discussion was what type of tax referendum to
put on the ballot in March.
Building and Grounds Chairman Dave Blankenship said that on Tuesday
he would motion to rescind the motion for the public safety sales
tax options with a 20-year sunset clause.
Blankenship said he would also motion to rescind the language for
the bond referendum in the next election in the amount of 50 cents
per $100 to be used for the courthouse restoration and jail
Board member Chuck Ruben said since the motion had passed at the
special board meeting, the only way it could be rescinded is by a
recall motion. This motion would require one of the people who voted
for it to ask for the motion to be recalled.
After talking to State’s Attorney Brad Hauge, Blankenship said his
understanding was that since there was ample notice given, the
motion would just need to be rescinded.
Board member David Hepler said if the board moved to rescind, there
should be a different motion brought up to be put on the agenda for
Blankenship said he would bring forward a motion for a facilities
Ruben asked the reason for the change.
Blankenship said the Building and Grounds Committee had discussed
the differences between the public safety tax and the facilities
tax. The public safety tax covers the safety complex and would not
cover the courthouse. He read the board statutes that explain the
differences between a referendum for “Public safety purposes” and
one for “Public facilities purposes.”
A tax referendum for public safety purposes would relate to crime
prevention, detention, firefighting, police, medical, ambulance or
other emergency services.
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A tax for public facilities purposes relates to “the acquisition, development,
construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, improvement, financing,
architectural planning, and installation of capital facilities consisting of
buildings, structures and durable equipment.”
The facilities tax is also “for the acquisition and improvement of real property
and interest in real property required, or expected to be required, in
connection with the public facilities, for use by the county for the furnishing
of governmental services to its citizens.”
In the discussion at the Building and Grounds Committee meeting, Blankenship
said the committee feels the public facilities language is better suited to the
needs and locks down where the money could go.
Though Ruben agreed, he said the letter to the state said they were going for a
public safety referendum. If the board decides to change the referendum, Ruben
said the state would probably require a follow up letter.
The board would have to wait until March to see if a referendum passes, but
Ruben said the whole reason for doing public safety was that the county already
has a safety tax in place.
Board member Cameron Halpin asked whether it would need to be changed since the
letter said it was contingent on passing the referendum.
After the discussion, Blankenship said he would make a motion Tuesday to move
forward with a facilities tax with a proposition for an increase of 50 cents to
taxes to pay for public facilities with a 20-year sunset clause. He would also
motion for a bond referendum at 50 cents per $100 to pay for courthouse
restoration, subject to required drafting language.
Board member Annette Welch said she would stand behind the new motion. When
Welch made the original motion for the public safety tax that is being
rescinded, she had pushed for it to stay under safety feeling since there is
already a safety tax it would give the board more ability to move forward. After
hearing more about the facilities tax, she supports it.
The board will vote on the new motions at their voting meeting Tuesday, August