Law. Co. Commission to ask voters to pass sales tax in November

Steve Chapman

Sales tax would pay for new Lawrence County jail, sheriff’s office on south side of I-44 in Mt. Vernon
When Lawrence County voters go to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 2, they will be asked to approve a new 3/8-cent sales tax to pay for a new, larger jail and sheriff’s office. The new sales tax requires a simple majority to pass.
According to a press release from the Lawrence County Commission, the sales tax would be reduced after the jail is paid for.
“After the construction is paid off, 1/8-cent of the tax would be retired,” the press release stated. “The rest would be retained for maintenance and operation of the facility and other public safety related costs.”
The release also stated that the county has been saving money towards the construction of a new jail, and the city of Mt. Vernon also provided the county with an 8.52-acre parcel of land just south of I-44 where the new jail will be located at a token cost of $1. However, to keep the land, the county must take action soon.
“The county must show progress toward the construction within three years and break ground within five or the property goes back to the city,” per the release.
In addition to the sales tax and money already saved towards the new jail, the commission believes they may be able to secure some federal funding to help with the jail’s construction.
“By acting now, the county also hopes some federal funds might help with the cost. It hopes to use a portion of federal American Recovery Act funds for the air filtration system and other qualifying construction costs,” as indicated by last week’s communication from the commission.
According to the commission, a contractor has been hired to build the new jail, which will also be a more centralized location for law enforcement personnel.
“The county commission has contracted with a seasoned jail architectural firm, Elevatus Architects, to develop plans for a safer, more secure facility designed for efficiency of operation and the ability to expand in the future,” it stated. “Law enforcement offices that are now spread among three buildings would be combined under one roof.”


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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