Sheriff hopes voters say yes to local sales tax issue

The Lewis County Missouri Sheriff's Department is taking the lead on a ballot issue

voters will decide on when they go to the polls on April 2, 2013.

Sheriff David Parrish has been in office for almost 13 years.

Since he took office, he's employed more than 40 jailers. The sheriff says the jailers quit because of low pay and no benefits.

That's one reason the sales tax issue is on the ballot.

"In public safety, a hundred thousand dollars isn't a lot of money, but we're careful with the money that we do have and we think we can accomplish four separate goals in one initiative. So we think we can help public safety in general," Parrish said.

Parrish and the county commission want voters to say yes to a quarter cent sales tax that would generate about $130,000 a year.

The money would increase starting pay for jailers, help pay for a school resource officer in the Lewis County C-1 School District and improve school security technology at the Canton R-5 school campus.

"So we're kind of struggling with the general obligations of cost of the jail, fuel, wages, everything else. And kind of fighting the down sourcing of revenue. So it's always a struggle and the sheriff needs as much help as he can get," Lewis County Northern District Commissioner John Campen said.

The tax revenue also would boost pay for sheriff's deputies who patrol the county and provide additional funding for the prosecutors office, which is considered a part time position. If the issue passes, it will be a permanent tax.

For it to take affect, it must pass with a simple majority.

Polls are open on Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.