Washington County

Posted: May 01, 2019 2:39 PMUpdated: May 01, 2019 3:05 PM

County Sales Tax Collections Slowly Diminishing

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Garrett Giles

An aging Detention Center relies on a diminishing sales tax collection to provide for its upkeep.

An election proclamation and resolution regarding the quarter-cent sales tax was approved by the Washington County Commissioners this week to help alleviate the issue.

District 3 Commissioner Mike Dunlap said the quater-cent sales tax was established June 9th, 2009 and the proclamation is based on the expiration of indebtedness of the Washington County Detention Facility. He said this is simply a renewal of the quarter-cent sales tax that ends at the end of the year.

Properly funding the Washington County Sheriff's Office is the most important biggest thing, Dunlap said. He said they are currently running at a minimum level and they just want to keep everyone working in the Detention Center safe.

With no growth in sales tax in the last decade in the County, Commissioner Dunlap said this is just kind of the situation they are in. You can see a property sales tax comparison from 2016 to 2018 pictured below. The graphics were provided by the Washington County Commissioners and County Assessor Todd Mathes.

Infrastructure and facility hardware is an area of concern at the Washington County Detention Center as all items are ten years old.  Four 250 gallon Hot Water Heater and pumping units are on the laundry list of items at the jail. Those cost $8,000 each. There are also 26 Air Handlers. That includes 17 HVAC Units and 9 other fresh air and exhaust units.

Estimated replacement cost for a HVAC Unit is $15,000 to $20,000. A compressor replacement part alone cost $8,000. That was the cost for a compressor eight years ago when one failed at the Detention Facility.

A computer change is upcoming over which integraes the jail with the patrol sides of both the Sheriff's Office and the Police Department. The initial portion of the cost will be between $350,000 to $400,000, which may possibly be financed over several years.

There is also a ten-year-old fire suppression system and a fire alarm system that has over 100 sensors throughout the building.

A recently required camera and IT upgrade cost approximately $400,000. Mechanical electronic openers on cell detention center door are servicable, however, in the event that one wears out, they cost approximately $1,000 each to repair. There are about 270 of these mechanisms in the entire facility.

If the renewal of the quarter-cent sales tax is approved, it would take effect on January 1st, 2020. We will have more on this story.

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