Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
August 14, 2013
DALLAS -- November will be decision time for voters in Polk County after the Polk County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday morning approved placing a public safety levy on the ballot.
The measure is a four-year levy that, if approved, would cost taxpayers 60 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. However, the county could levy less if now-expired timber payments were renewed in some form.
If levied at the full amount, the county would receive approximately $2.975 million in the first year, $3.048 million in the second year, $3.140 million in the third year, and $3.265 million in the final year.
Funding would go to restore personnel and services in the Polk County Sheriff's Office, District Attorney's Office, Community Corrections (parole, probation and community service programs) and the Juvenile Department.
Both District Attorney Aaron Felton and Sheriff Bob Wolfe offered testimony in favor of the levy. Felton, who was attending a conference, presented his support through a letter to the board while Wolfe stated his support in person.
"This is public safety measure," Wolfe said. "This is about continuing to have a county where people can live, work and play in and still feel safe in the community."
Commissioners Craig Pope and Mike Ainsworth both voted in favor of placing the levy on the ballot. Commissioner Jennifer Wheeler was on vacation and not present at the meeting.
"I'm not a big tax guy, but we need stable funding," Ainsworth said. "We can't wait for federal funding."
Pope said he placed the need for the levy at the feet of federal legislators, who haven't come up with a solution to replacing lost timber funding that used to go to counties. He said, given that scenario, he believes county leaders have no choice but to take action.
"These are not easy decisions to make, clearly," he said, adding: "It would be irresponsible to duck from that responsibility."