By Jon A. Brake
Riley County Treasurer Eileen King said that when the Riley County voters approved the new jail, five bank accounts were set up to make sure the money was only spent on the jail project.
King and Riley County Council Stan Morgan both told the Free Press Tuesday that if the voters approve the Half-Cent Sales Tax, it would go into the General Fund. The County would get between $900,000 and $1 Million each year.
As long at the County Commission spent more than $1 Million from the Road and Bridge Fund they would be in compliance with the law. For the past ten years the County has spent more than $3.5 Million. The new Sales Tax money would go into the General Fund and could be spent on any project.
The Commissioners are considering adding a provision that will allow citizens to protest the sales tax in five or ten years.
Commission Chairman Bob Newsome said, "This would keep our feet to the fire and make sure it (money) is being used exactly how itís supposed to be used."
That is a great idea. The taxpayers should get-up a protest petition to hold the Commissions feet to the fire for all of the tax money that they have budgeted for Roads and Bridges and then spent on other things for the past ten years.
Another problem with the Sales Tax for Roads and Bridges is: the County plans to sell bonds to get the money to fix the roads and bridges and then use the tax money to pay-off the bonds. That means the County will add to their debt. The County taxpayers will get $10 million dollars worth of repairs but pay between $14 and $15 Million in principal and interest.
Paying for the repair of all of the Roads and Bridges in Riley County is not hard to do. Each year the County Commission should Budget $1 Million to fix roads and bridges, and the first $1 Million to come into the County should be put into the Road and Bridge Fund and spent to fix roads and bridges. It is not hard to do. It can and should be done.
If the Commission will not fix the Roads and Bridges today, why would
anyone think they would spend the Sales Tax to make those repairs?