The Courier » Sales tax hike hearing tonight

The Hancock County commissioners will host the first of two public hearings on the proposed 0.75 percent sales tax at 6 p.m. today at the county engineer’s building, 1900 Lima Ave.
The commissioners will explain the tax request, which will be before voters on the Nov. 7 ballot, and take input from the public.
The tax request is 0.25 percent more than is currently being collected. Voters approved the 0.5 percent tax in 2009, and it will expire at year-end 2018.
In recent years, the tax has collected about $7 million annually, with half being used for flood reduction expenses and the remainder for the county’s general operations. Those allocations would continue if the new tax is approved.
The additional funds being sought would be used for county jail expansion, to reduce prisoners being taken to neighboring counties for incarceration, and for construction of a county administrative building to house probate/juvenile court and other county offices.
The county has been leasing space since the 2007 flood displaced several county departments.
If approved, the tax will be effective Jan. 1, 2019, and continue for 20 years.
The second hearing will be at 2 p.m. Aug. 1 in the conference room at the county Agricultural Service Center, 7868 Hancock County 140.



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