Sales tax question going to voters in Marion County

Marion County Missouri Sheriff Jimmy Shinn

On the outside, the jail at the Marion County Sheriff's Department in Palmyra looks up to par. But once you get on the inside, you see what 20 years of wear and tear do to the building and to it's mechanical operation.

Now the county is going to ask voters to extend the current
3/8 of a cent sales tax to help pay for capital improvements.

Right now the sales tax is suppose to expire at the end of 2014. But the question on the ballot in April will ask voters to extend the 3/8 of a cent sales tax permanently.

And if it's approved what would that mean for the sheriff's department?

"The jail is a little over 20-years-old and now of course the normal wear and tear of property is a little bit more significant in a jail setting. And I'm having a lot of safety issues with the locks, the doors, the windows. Some safety issues not only to my employees, but also with the inmates. That I have to be concerned about," said sheriff Jimmy Shinn.

The money that is currently collected for that portion of the sales tax is divided between the county highway department and the sheriff's department.

Some of the projects the money has funded include a new highway department building and the completion of Veteran's Road in Hannibal.

But what would happen if the sales tax went away and the county lost that revenue of about one point three million dollars?

Lyndon Bode is the Presiding Commissioner for Marion County and he said, "It would be devastating in a way that especially in the sheriff's department. Because we have funded I believe seven employees in the sheriff's department area and that would be a major cutback there because there wouldn't be any type of funding."

The sheriff and Bode both say the county has put off making big ticket purchases like squad cars and equipment for the highway department. But they're hoping that if voters say yes in April they'll be able to start moving in that direction after putting it off for the last few years.