Commission needs to hear community voices

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 12, 2000

Butler County has some hard choices to make. There is definitely a need for funds to build a new jail, and the plans to purchase and improve property for the purposes of economic development seem sound, however, the County Commission needs to hear public input before they can make a sound and responsible decision.

A sales tax increase in Butler County would have far-reaching effects on our already weakened economy. We question whether this proposal is the best choice and we encourage the commission to continue investigating other options before they make their final decision. But above all, each commissioner needs to hear the voices of the constituents of their own districts because this decision means a lot to all of us.

We are not against growth, by any means, and we are not against taxes if those taxes truly prove to be the best choice. We are concerned, however, that the commission can, for all practical purposes, have a one-cent sales tax pushed through the state legislature without the consent of the voters. Each of the commissioners seems willing to put his political future on the line in support of a sales tax, as does our state representative Charles Newton, so out of fairness they need to know what we, the voters of the county, think.

We also encourage the commission to host at least one more, if not several more, public forums for the purposes of discussing this situation further. While some members of the commission may feel this is a waste of time, it is only fair to the voters. There may be options and ideas that come out of these meetings that could solve the dilemma without resorting to taxation.

Each voter in the county should put down the paper right now and give the commissioner from their district a call. Their numbers are listed below. Without information and input from the people they are elected to represent, the commissioners cannot be truly prepared to make such and important decision.

Gary Hanks 346-2387, Tex Kervin 374-2270, Joe Hendrix 382-5516, Daniel Robinson 382-6403 and Leroy Johnson 382-7544.