Lawrence County residents will vote to implement a sales tax to pay for an upgraded jail

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LAWRENCE COUNTY, Mo. — Residents of Lawrence County may soon be paying a little more in taxes.

There is a purpose to what’s being proposed.

That’s right, and voters have less than a month to decide. On the ballot on November 2nd — the question of whether to impose a sales tax of three-eighths of one percent.

The current jail was built back in 1986. Outdated and even unsafe for deputies, the county is in need of an upgrade. So come November, if passed, money coming from the public safety sales tax of three-eighths of one percent will go towards building a new jail.

“Whether it’s a jail, whether it’s nice roads, weather it’s new schools, unfortunately people have to pay for those services, or they don’t have them. The good side of the sales tax is everybody pays for it,” said Brad Delay – Lawrence County Sheriff.

While not everyone in the county may be on board, some people like Pam Dudley believe it’s time for a change.

“We’re outdated, it’s been absolute years since they’ve been able to do any upgrades there, and they’re landlocked, so they can’t grow or expand in the spot they sit in,” said Pam Dudley – Lawrence County Resident.

With an updated jail, the county will be able to keep more inmates in their own facility. Something they’ve struggled to do in the past. In fact, they’ve had to use tax money to send some inmates to other locations.

“We send probably half of our inmates to other counties throughout the state. So, not only obviously safety is the number one issue but this year alone, we’re probably going to total close to half a million dollars that we are paying other counties to hold our prisoners,” said Delay.

Doing this also brings concern to people like Dudley.

“Transporting all the inmates to other facilities leads to an opportunity for someone to escape, and I think that it would be a better scenario if they just were here,” said Dudley.

Also — one-eighth of the one percent sales tax would sunset and expire when the final payment occurs. In the long run, sheriff delay says the goal for this sales tax is to ultimately save people money.

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