The Taxpayers Of Gila County Have Spoken

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Editor:

Well, the Nov. 6 election is over, and the taxpayers of Gila County have spoken. New Courthouse / Jail facilities are not needed now in Globe and maybe there needs to be more review of where and when to build a new courthouse and to expand the jail facilities for northern Gila County. It doesn't look like Main Street is the choice of non-county employees.

There appears to be repositioning by the County Supervisors on this subject, ranging from "let's check with the voters and then reload" to Supervisor Martin's quote, "the jail issue is a long-term thing, while forest fire danger is a crisis issue." And, of course, re-election day for the supervisors is now less than a year away.

Another Tommie Martin quote is, "We still have 150 jail beds, with a projected need of 300." One way to approach this deficiency might be to learn from others who have faced the same overcrowding problem in their jails. I would suggest that Sheriff Armer might select his most qualified officer and send him/her to spend 90 days with Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Maricopa County.

During that time, he/she could observe how to make the Gila County tax dollar go further in jail-bed management. Sheriff Joe seems to meet his increasing head count needs with creativity, not larger bond issues and higher sales tax levies.

The Supervisor's reference to "reduction of property tax rates by some 30 cents, over the last several years," may be true, but this explanation fails to take into consideration the 60 percent increase of my assessed property valuation over those same few years. I, like all Gila residents of more than 10 years, am paying much higher property taxes today and we have had enough of representatives of the county telling us what they "want," rather than what we really "need."

I agree that all levels of Gila County and city governments should be included in the necessary studies to determine what to build, where to build it and when to build it. But, this time, let us take the necessary time to properly study all aspects and to search for cheaper ways to finance the buildings that are required.

Forrest McCoy

Pine

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