Next Tuesday Barry County residents will head to the polls to decide a pair of county taxes that are designed to support law enforcement and emergency services.
In August, the Barry County Commission voted to place a 3/16th of a cent sales tax on the Nov. 8 special election ballot. The county currently operates on a one-half of a cent sales tax and fees generated by county offices.
The county also receives revenues from a half-cent sales tax that is dedicated to roads and bridges. The county does not have a levy on real estate or personal property.
If approved, the sales tax is expected to generate about $650,000 in additional revenue for the county. The county commission has indicated that the money will be used to provide additional funding for the prosecuting attorney's office and sheriff's department.
The sales tax is being run on the ballot with a five-year sunset provision, which means the tax will expire after five years if voters do not renew it.
If the sales tax does not pass, county officials have indicated that they will most likely be forced to make severe cuts in personnel and services.
Emergency services tax
In August, the Barry County E-911 Emergency Services Board also voted to place a one-eighth of a cent sales tax on the special election ballot. Currently, Barry County E-911 operates on a quarter cent sales tax.
The need for additional operating revenue was first made public during a meeting held at the end of May. At that time, Jon Horner, Barry County E-911 Emergency Services chairman, said the board was facing possible bankruptcy.
Last year, the E-911 Board's existing one-quarter of a cent sales tax generated $885,544 in sales tax revenue, which was considerably less than what the tax was generating prior to the recession, said Horner.
An additional one-eighth of a cent is projected to produce $425,000 to $450,000 a year, which would give the board an annual budget of around $1.3 million to operate the Barry County E-911 Center.