Holley: Sales tax for jail couldn’t be extended

Published 3:00 am Saturday, March 18, 2017

For any residents worried that the Pike County Commission will try to extend a sales tax meant to fund new jail construction, Sen. Jimmy Holley said that can’t happen.

“They could not extend it for any other purpose,” Holley said. “The sales tax has to terminate once the funding of the jail construction is complete.”

The commission voted Monday to request the authority to levy a sales tax of .5 percent in Troy and 1.5 percent in the rest of the county to fund the construction of a new jail. If passed, the tax is estimated to bring in about $2.5 million in revenue for the county each year.

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District 4 Commissioner Chad Copeland said the earmarking of the funds and the set termination of the tax make it impossible to extend the bill.

“To do that it would take another local act,” Copeland said. “I mean, legally we couldn’t do that without going back to the State House. It would have to be a totally new bill.  “This bill states that this sales tax will go to the construction of the jail. If it got extended, it would take a totally new bill because, not only would the expiration have to go away, the earmark would have to change.”

Copeland said that once the tax was paid off, he couldn’t say what the commission would decide to do. “The county always needs funds,” Copeland said. “We’re scratching and struggling right now to find the funds to operate this thing. The need will possibly be there when this over, but it would be a whole other process and, right now, there’s no way for us to do that.”

The bill will originate in the House and would need to be passed by both the House and Senate and be signed by the governor to give the commission authority to levy the tax. Holley said once the bill has been brought before the House, it would take five to six legislative days to pass the bill.