No time to react to jail tax proposal

January 11, 2014 

The St. Clair Board has placed a 25-cent per $100 increase in countywide sales tax on the March 18 ballot for voter approval. The tax increase is to fund a $37 million expansion to the county jail. "The proposition authorizing the imposition of a retailers' occupation tax and service occupation tax to be used exclusively for public safety purposes" is how it is worded.

There were only two votes against placing this on the March ballot.

This was the first County Board and Finance Committee meeting I attended and I got a quick lesson in St. Clair County politics.

They waited until the last minute to pass the resolution so they could get it on the ballot; they didn't furnish any information to the public until the last minute and they require five days' notification from people who wanted to be put on the agenda to speak.

There is no opposition at board meetings because no one has time to react.

They apparently violated the Open Meetings Act because in Finance Committee there was no discussion. It took about a minute for all committee members to vote in the affirmative on the tax proposal without discussion. When and where did they all talk about this?

All we know is the sheriff wants $37 million. We do know that a good architect who went nameless was consulted, according to County Board Chairman Mark Kern.

They put it on the March primary ballot when they know many Republicans won't vote.

William H. Bremen Sr.


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