My topic this week is the county sales tax increase.
It seems the county would like more of your money by increasing the sales tax from 6.5 percent to 7 percent. The commissioners are not allowing the taxpayers to vote on the decision; instead, there will be public hearings so the taxpayers can voice their opinions about the increase. Most of the time, the public hearings are mandated and just a formality. The county commissioners will continue to do what they intended to do in the first place and that is to raise the sales tax. The commissioners claim they need money for renovations and repairs but will we be guaranteed that is where the money will go?
The county is losing almost a half a million dollars every year on the county nursing home for the past 11 years. No facility should be losing that kind of money year after year. A private company has taken over the management of the facility with the county paying $120,000 a year for management, plus, 25 percent of any profit the nursing home brings in under the new management.
As a taxpayer, I am not happy that we have to make up the nursing home’s losses while going further into debt each and every year. It is getting to a point where nursing homes are financially out of reach for most folks except for Medicaid patients where the government picks up the tab. The county needs to get out of the nursing home business because it keeps the county from placing money in other areas that need attention in the county. Eleven years is way too long to keep a failing facility on the books without making a decision to let it go once and for all. The taxpayer should be outraged by the financial loss and to know it has gone on for so many years left unchecked.
The county has $10.7 million of outstanding property taxes that has not been aggressively collected in the past. What happened to the extra money from the casino revenue that the county doesn’t care to share with the other entities in the county? The casino money has brought in $592,000 for the county since the casinos opened. The revenue is there, the county just needs to collect it.
Until next time, it is too easy to ask for more tax money than to look for ways to cut and save money.