Taxes! Everyone hates new taxes, including me. However, that being said, now that I am your Sheriff of Park County, I have a slightly different viewpoint.
I am requesting that the voters of Park County approve the ½% sales tax for the Sheriff’s Office for the following reasons.
A large percentage of the calls that the patrol handles are involving tourists. These are mostly calls such as reckless drivers, standby for traffic crashes, complaints of persons trespassing on private lands, attempts to locate, ATV/dirtbikes on county roads, illegal campfires, illegal dumping, suicide, mental health and suspicious vehicles.
But none of these tourists pay for our service going on these calls unless we fine them for a violation.
You as a Park County taxpayer pay for these calls. Our search and rescue calls are probably 70% for tourists.
You received a brochure from the clerk’s office outlining the negative and the positive issues with 1A. The positive issues are funds for a K-9 unit, Seargent of the SRO program, training funds and search and rescue operations.
The negatives are more taxes. But just so you understand: if you spent $5,000 in Park County on items that would fall under this tax, that would be $25. The county could take that money from the budget, and there would be no real increase in funds.
I work extremely well with the county commissioners and the county administrators. If this were to happen, I would not stand by quietly. I would bring it to the attention of the voters and make sure that the commissioners understand this was not the agreement.
The jail should be making more money, since it was built for profit. Department of Corrections has opened a new prison and does not have the overpopulation it once had. Sentences are lighter, judges are giving personal recognizance bonds more often, other jails are no longer full and no one wants to transport prisoners to Park County because of our location far from many populated areas. That is a reality we can do nothing about.
This tax is expected to generate approximately $500,000 for the Sheriff’s Office. I would also publish at the end of the year exactly what was spent and for what reason.
By voting yes on 1A, we can provide better services by the Sheriff’s Office and offset the costs incurred by tourists.