cops

SHELTON — Dollars generated by a 3/10ths of 1 percent sales tax proposed to voters on Aug. 6 would be solely dedicated to the benefit of Mason County’s public safety system.

Shelton police Chief Darrin Moody, who joined county Sheriff Casey Salisbury and jail Chief Kevin Hansen Tuesday on the iFIBER One News Radio KMAS’ Daybreak show, made it clear that the proposal is for a sales tax. He said the City of Shelton already has a 1/10th of 1 percent public safety tax and the ballot measure would take it to 3/10ths of 1 percent of every dollar that residents and visitors spend in the county. 

The public safety tax proposal would generate about $1.3 million a year specifically for criminal justice programs operated by the sheriff’s office and the county courts. It will fund some expansion of services and abilities within the jail system and court system.

“This if for the court system that is burdened and overloaded,” Moody told Daybreak show host Jeff Slakey. “This is for the public defenders. This is for the prosecuting attorneys. This is for the alternative sentencing. It has a little bit of everything and the county’s done a good job of spelling out what the money’s going to go for.”

Salisbury said if voters approve the sales tax increases it will be dedicated solely to public safety.

“You can take any one part of our system,” the sheriff said. “You can give us all the law officers you want, but if you don’t have any place to put them in jail or we don’t have the court system to process them or the people in the court system, it doesn’t help anything.”

County jail Chief Kevin Hanson said in May  there were 319 arrests that were not booked in the jail because it was full. Hansen said once a judge tells the sheriff’s office that an person arrested has to be incarcerated then room has to be made for that person.

Currently the Mason County Jail can hold no more than 94 inmates leading the Sheriff’s staff to almost daily release an offender early in order to make room for a new arrest. Sheriff Salisbury says in the month of May there were 309 new arrests in Mason County with no room at the jail to put the offender.

If the added criminal justice sales tax increase is approved by voters the Mason County sales tax would go from 8.5 to 8.8 percent. The retail sales tax in Thurston County is currently at 9.3 percent, by comparison.

Of the $1.3 million generated by the sales tax, $450,000 would go to fund six new correction deputies. 

Two of them will take care of transportation staff and other four to go to fill positions laid off form the jail staff in the past, Shutty said.

Money would also goes toward inmate mental health care for inmates.

A proposal to replace Mason County’s existing jail is being considered in a separate bond proposal. The county commissioners have hired a consultant firm to come up with proposals to replace the jail, including a regional facility shared with Grays Harbor County.

 

 

 

(9) comments

collene swenson

I can’t help noticing that this tax does nothing to alleviate the jail over crowding you are speaking of in the article says “ County jail Chief Kevin Hanson said in May there were 319 arrests that were not booked in the jail because it was full. Hansen said once a judge tells the sheriff’s office that an person arrested has to be incarcerated then room has to be made for that person. Currently the Mason County Jail can hold no more than 94 inmates leading the Sheriff’s staff to almost daily release an offender early in order to make room for a new arrest. Sheriff Salisbury says in the month of May there were 309 new arrests in Mason County with no room at the jail to put the offender.“ But the tax does not build a new jail that will be a separate bond. This tax goes to More sheriffs and court personnel and some mental health services with in the jails? So it seems almost like putting the cart before the horse hiring more personnel when you still have zero room to put the people. Why a tax and a bond why not one or the other and put it all together?

Tom Davis

Well, good to see you finally got the sales tax right for Mason County at 8.5%. Now how about going back and correcting all the articles that state the sales tax in Thurston County is 9.3% when it's actually 7.9%. You're confusing Thurston County with the city of Olympia, which has a sales tax at 9.3%. I'm not busy on Thursday if you'd like me to come by and fact check your articles.

Patti Kleist

[smile] The Munch & Meet at the Port of Allyn on Weds is at noon.

Patti Kleist

If you would like to learn more about the details of this tax - join the North Mason Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee at their brown bag Munch and Meet - Weds. Jan. 10 at the Port of Allyn. Commissioner Schutty will be there to explain the reasons and purposes behind the increase. There will be time for community questions.

John Skans

Wow! "319 arrests that were not booked in the jail" How many total arrests are being made monthly in Mason County?

Tee Breeze

Just say NO to new taxes.

Tom Davis

Why you keep reporting that the Mason County sales tax is 8.7% when it is 8.5% remains a mystery.

Kevin Frankeberger

Indeed, let's report the current sales tax as it is - 8.5%. The "elephant in the room" here is the plus $30,000 raised approved for the sheriff and just months later, asking for the sales tax increase dedicated to the functions of the Sheriff's office. I see merit in the plans to use the increase but oh my goodness, I think the Mason County leadership needs to attend a public relations 101 course.

Tom Davis

True dat. Anyone who thinks crime doesn't pay never worked in the criminal justice system. Judges and top tier prosecutors and law enforcement are the highest paid govt. jobs in the county.

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