Questions About County Jail Facilities Proposal

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Editor:

The following issues pertain to the Gila County Proposal for an expansion of complex and jail facilities, both in Globe and here in Payson.

The proposals on the Nov. 6 ballot, if passed, will result in an increase in both the county sales and property tax rates. You may want to ask yourself these questions before you cast your vote.

County Facilities Proposal Issues

1. Why are you for/against the Gila County BOS proposal for new complex and jail facilities in Globe and Payson?

2. Discuss how the needs assessments are different for each facility in each town. The expenditure proposal for the county complex in Globe is $7.8 million versus $6.5 million in Payson, or $1 million to $1.8 million more in Globe. Discuss these differences.

3. It is alleged that the estimated costs of the projects for both towns came from Gila County Staff without detailed architectural/engineering specifications. Could this lack of detail result in a greater amount of money needed, and would this affect the amount required in the sales and property tax rate increases?

4. Is the location selected for facilities in Payson good or bad for the town?

5. Questions related to the financing of the facilities:

a. Property taxes are a stream of revenue to pay for any public project over a set number of years. Sales taxes have no expiration date. Discuss why the jail projects should/shouldn't be totally funded with property tax versus a sales tax increase.

b. The sales tax proposal is said to include not only the construction cost, but also the future operating costs of the jails. The current cost of jail operations are paid out of the County General Fund. The County General Fund gets its money from primary property taxes. If the sales tax passes, should Gila County be required to reduce the primary property tax rate by the amount of money previously used to pay for the jail operations?

c. If one proposal passes in one town and not the other, how will construction plans be altered? Will Town Councils have input to these changes?

d. Would it have been fairer to voters to have the proposed facilities for each town as a separate item on the ballot?

Jim Hippel, Co-Chair

Citizens Awareness Committe

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