“If we want to be in the cemetery area, we have to get down to it. “

Those are the words of County Judge Terry Johnson at Monday’s Commissioners Tribunal meeting, and he was right.

While this may be a headache for some, the county basically has no choice but to make sure Fairview Cemetery is more presentable than it is today. After all, through no fault of the current court, the county is in the cemeteries business.

Johnson’s comments are relevant to all government entities. When the school district bought apartments or set up housing for employees, it got into the housing business. When the county decided to inject millions of dollars into new libraries, it stayed in the library business. Under votes from the Council and the Tribunal of Commissioners to approve approximately $ 90 million in spending for the Bush Convention Center and Horseshoe respectively, the city and county have put our communities in the convention business for decades to come.

And when you start a business, you have to go with both feet.

In November, some county residents (those living outside the city) will go to the polls to vote on an initiative that will increase the sales tax rate in the county. This could raise tens of millions of dollars (possibly up to $ 80 million, according to Johnson in previous reports) each year for Midland County. Some executives said it would help keep the property tax rate low. This is probably going to be true, but it will also likely put the county in business.

A previous county meeting indicated the following “business” opportunities: maintenance of library operations, recreational facility operations, updating of prison facility operations, maintenance of roads and highways, ambulance in Greenwood activities and parks. It’s a lot of business.

Coincidentally with Johnson’s comment, another item in the county budget on Monday was # 51 – “Discuss and Take Action on Mail to County Residents Explaining the County Assistance District.” The minute I saw this, I thought back to the ISD Bond election in Midland, where the school district spent taxpayer dollars on articles to help explain the issue of bonds of $ 569 million. Fortunately, the Commissioners decided not to follow up on this agenda item. I think we could all support someone doing this on their own.

No matter what happens on the mail front, here’s what county leaders need to know with this election. No matter what residents think of the tax or the possible unprecedented government growth it might allow, this tax hike – like any before it – is only as good as the government overseeing it.

If voters living outside the city but within the county have a positive view of how county commissioners can handle surplus funds, then I would expect them to vote yes. If this point of view is negative, then it will fail.

It is no different from any other tax choice in that it is usually a referendum on a plan or leadership or the ratification of a business plan. We will see if voters are ready to take the plunge.


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