Pike County Commission passes resolution to potentially extend sales tax already in place

Published 6:58 pm Monday, March 25, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

At the March 25 Pike County Commission Meeting in Troy, the commission passed a resolution for a possible amendment to the 2017 bill that introduced a sales tax in the county to fund the new Pike County Judicial Complex and Jail.

The bill set the sales tax to expire in October of 2030 or when the debt for the new jail was paid off, whichever came first. This new amendment to the bill would remove the expiration and after the debt is paid off, the revenue generated from the sales tax would go to funding the complex, which has seen rising costs. However, the City of Troy’s portion of the sales tax would go to criminal justice funding in Troy.

“We never want to do anything like this but coming into the new jail we didn’t know what exactly our operating costs would look like,” Commission Chairman Chad Copeland said. “We had a good idea and now six months into the new jail we’ve been able to project the next few years and have already had to spend over $1.3 million in ARPA funds over the last two years. Last year the budget was almost $1.5 million, so we know it’s unsustainable for the county. That’s why we are asking that they approve this legislation.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The amendment that was passed would allow the county to use part of the funds from the sales tax revenue generated to fund the rising costs of the jail.

The cost to fund the jail has risen from $879,219.57 in fiscal year (FY) 2020-2021 to more than $1.4 million in FY 2021-2022 and all the way up to more than $2.2 million in FY 2022-2023.

The commission unanimously passed the resolution for the amendment. The amendment will now be introduced in the State House of Representatives and State Senate, where it must pass before it becomes law. The county’s hope is that it will be taken up in the current legislative session, which goes through May.

Pike County residents will not see an increase in their sales tax in the county as this resolution would only extend the current sales tax in place, passed originally in 2017. Once the debt for the jail is paid off, the money generated from the sales tax will be earmarked for funding the jail complex.

The commission also passed four resolutions to support funding to the Pike County District Attorney’s Office, Pike County Sheriff’s Office, Pike County Board of Education and the City of Brundidge.

The Pike County Sheriff’s Office has seen a shortfall in its budget in recent years due to the passing of the Permitless Carry Law, which eliminated revenue from local law enforcement agencies for pistol permits. The resolution passed will allow the sheriff’s office to use the funding for jail inmate phone calls for its budget.

The resolution to support the district attorney’s office will go to help fund an understaffed office, which will potentially speed up trials and the amount of time that residents spend in jail. The support for Brundidge will see funding going to criminal justice in the City of Brundidge and the support for the Board of Education would see $320,000 in funding to the school system.