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County: Sales tax will draw from outside

By RANDY GONZALES

rgonzales@dailynews.net

One benefit of a county sales tax is not just Ellis County residents would foot the bill, said Ellis County Commissioner Swede Holmgren at Monday night's meeting of the Ellis City Council.

Holmgren and Ellis County Administrator Greg Sund gave a presentation to Ellis city leaders, asking them to give their share of a proposed 0.5-percent sales tax to the county for the purpose of construction of an EMS/Rural Fire building as well as renovations to the county jail, Law Enforcement Center and courthouse.

"If you have a sales tax like this, and you are full funding on it, all the dollars that come in outside the county goes toward that," Holmgren told council members. "It's not our citizenry in Ellis County having the full brunt of what we're trying to do here.

"Even though it's our facility, we get a lot of help from surrounding entities to help pay for this."

Sund and Ellis County Commission Chairman Dean Haselhorst also met with Victoria city leaders Monday night.

The county is requesting Ellis, Victoria and Schoenchen to each enter into an interlocal agreement to give their share of the proposed tax -- approximately 10 percent altogether -- to the county for the proposed projects. The city of Hays already has signed an interlocal agreement; Hays' share plus the county's puts the county at 90 percent funding for the tax.

At the meeting with Victoria council members, Sund and Haselhorst were asked what the county would do if the sales tax -- which goes before voters in a special election May 14 -- went down to defeat.

"We probably would regroup and propose another sales tax," Sund said. "Try to figure out what questions didn't get answered, change the education that's out there, see if we could do it again. Because we need to get these buildings done."