Editorial: County wise to hold off on another try at jail tax increase

Smart call.

Monday's decision by the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors to wait until 2010 before again asking voters to approve a one-quarter cent jail sales tax was a wise political move.

First off, it shows the citizens of Yavapai County that the supervisors and sheriff respect the wishes of the voters.

No. 2, it gives the county and sheriff time to make a good-faith showing to the voters on how it will handle the challenges of operating the jail in a cash-strapped economy before again asking for more money. Already, Sheriff Steve Waugh has shown himself to be up to the challenge by consolidating Prescott-Verde jail operations at the Camp Verde facility.

No. 3, the economy definitely will bounce back sooner or later. When it does, the county may discover it has sufficient operating funds based on the existing jail tax levy.

Finally, other government agencies in the county already have shown their hand on tax-ballot questions this year. An increase in the jail tax is a tough enough sell on its own without the competition from schools, cities and towns. The Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District will ask voters to extend the district's 10-percent maintenance and operation budget override on the November 2009 ballot. The override provides the district with more than $1 million annually. In addition, the City of Prescott is considering a tax ballot question in September.

Waiting it out, toughing it out, is the perfect course of action for the supervisors and the sheriff.


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