Jail tax revenue nears annual projection in just 8 months

Published 3:00 am Thursday, June 14, 2018

When the Pike County Commission passed a tax to fund the construction of a new jail, they conservatively projected that it could bring in $2.5 million in revenue each year.

With four months still left to go since the temporary sales tax was enacted on October 1, 2017, the commission has already nearly reached that benchmark.

In all, the sales tax of 1.5 percent in most of the county has generated over $2.35 million in that timespan according to interim county administrator McKenzie Wilson.

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“We have been collecting a little bit more than we expected to collect,” Wilson said. “I do think by the end of June that we will have met that $2.5 million expectation. The lowest we have collected in a month this year is $295,000.”

At the current rate, the county is on pace to collect $3.53 million by the end of the fiscal year, although Wilson said it is hard to predict where the final numbers will come in.

“There are some fluctuations in the summer months with less people in town,” Wilson said. “So we don’t know how that’s going to affect us; we should know more by the time we have collections for June.”

Regardless of how quickly the money is raised, the tax will expire as soon as the funding is there to finance the construction of a new jail or jail complex, depending on what direction the commission decides to go after hearing more information about their options.

The tax was raised 1.5 percent in every part of Pike County except within the city limits of Troy, where it was raised only 0.5 percent.

Then-administrator Harry Sanders explained that they were going off of numbers from the

The commission is currently working with TCU Consulting Services to build a plan for the new jail’s construction and to get an idea of what the jail is going to cost. The consulting firm expected to have their results in by February, but delays have led to the firm only just planning to present their findings at the Monday, June 25 meeting of the commission.

Although officials haven’t gotten an official cost estimate for the jail yet, they had said prior to beginning the process that the cost could be somewhere around $8 million.

Commissioners have said that having funding already in place could help to shorten the financing process as well and save money on interest.

The commission also raised court costs by $35 to increase the operation budget for the new jail once it opens. Those costs began being collected in May.