County Commission fails to approve sales tax initiative for November ballotA half-cent sales tax meant to help pay for fixing the county’s roads will not be on the ballot for Stutsman County voters to decide in November. A Stutsman County Commission vote on the whether to add the measure failed Tuesday, ending in a 2-2 stalemate. The fifth member of the commission, Craig Neys, was not present at the meeting.
By: Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun
A half-cent sales tax meant to help pay for fixing the county’s roads will not be on the ballot for Stutsman County voters to decide in November.
A Stutsman County Commission vote on the whether to add the measure failed Tuesday, ending in a 2-2 stalemate. The fifth member of the commission, Craig Neys, was not present at the meeting.
“You’ve got to quit looking west, you’ve got to quit looking to Bismarck for help,” said Commissioner Dale Marks, urging that the tax be offered to voters as an option. “We’ve got to do something here ourselves.”
Marks has been working with the Local and Regional Issues Committee of the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce about the road issue.
The committee had looked into a sales tax for road funding, and also into putting an initiated measure on the ballot. An initiated measure would have to be turned in with 1,175 signatures by Friday, however.
“We don’t want to be accused of sliding this stuff in, especially with taxes,” said Commissioner Dennis “Denny” Ova, who voted against putting the issue on the ballot.
“I think the public knows how bad these roads are,” Marks said.
Commissioner Mark Klose said he’d supported every previous attempt to ask voters for more money to fix the roads, which have been damaged by several consecutive years of severe flooding.
Marks argued it would be best to put the issue in front of the voters again.
Commissioner Dave Schwartz also voted to put the issue on the ballot.
Had the additional tax been put on the ballot and if it had then been approved by voters, it would have raised approximately $1.1 million that would have been used exclusively for construction, maintenance and improvements to Stutsman County roads.
Marks wanted to strike the term “construction,” pointing out that the county wouldn’t construct any new roads with that money.
Klose agreed the county needed more money to fix the roads, but said he had been hoping the Local and Regional Issues Committee would be the driving force behind the idea — “that it would come from the people.”
In other news Tuesday, the commission:
* discussed budgets for the State’s Attorney, Highway Department, Law Enforcement Center and Sheriff’s Office.
* accepted a $66,687 grant for its Emergency Management office. The money will be used to help pay salaries.
* received updates on its purchase of 911 equipment and the CodeRED automatic telephone notification system.
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453
or by email at