Dale County reinstates jail tax

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Posted: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 3:52 pm

The Dale County Commission voted Monday to reinstate a 29-year-old tax aimed at funding the county jail.

Collection of the tax, which was reinstated at 0.5 mills, will begin Oct. 1, 2015.

The tax dates back to 1985, when it was initiated at 2.5 mills, but the commission decided to stop collecting it in 2003.

“It was levied at zero about 10 years ago because we had a fair amount of money in the reserve that we had built up over the years,” County Commission Chairman Mark Blankenship said. “That amount of money has depleted down below a couple hundred thousand dollars.”

Blankenship said the five-year average annual cost of the county jail is $148,000.

“(The tax) was originally at 2.5 mills, but we looked at it and 0.5 mills generates about $158,000,” he said. “Now it only amounts to about $5 per year for a $100,000 home and $10 for a $100,000 business.”

The vote passed 3-1, with District 4 Commissioner Wes Strickland opposing the tax.

“I’m not big on taxes,” he said. “I wanted to do it another way – add it to the court costs in Dale County. I wanted to put a $25 fine to be earmarked for the jail fund.”

Strickland said his approach would have generated “quite a bit” more money, but he isn’t angry about the result.

He said the commission is still cohesive, and he understands the high cost of running the jail.

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