SHELTON - A public safety tax proposal will come before voters and an idea to expand the county jail will get a closer look. Mason County Commissioner Kevin Shutty told iFiberOneNewsRadio that “voters will have a chance to weigh in the primary election this August on a 3/10 of one percent public safety sales tax (increase).” He says, “it will give us an opportunity to fund some critical criminal justice programs that we currently have a need for in the county right now.” Shutty says the added tax would generate about $1.3 million a year specifically for criminal justice programs operated by the Sheriff’s Office and the county courts. Shutty says, “it will fund some expansion of services and abilities within the jail system and court system and the entirety of the 3/10 of one percent will go to criminal justice.”
Mason County Sheriff Casey Salisbury says, “the Commissioners narrowed that down and focused it (the proceeds) into areas exactly where it’s going to go. I can support that.”
The City of Shelton currently imposes a 1/10 of one percent sales tax for law enforcement.
If the added criminal justice sales tax increase is approved by voters the Mason County sales tax would go from 8.7 to 9%. In comparison, the retail sales tax in Thurston County is currently at 9.3%.
Mason County Commissioners are scheduled to vote Tuesday to bring aboard a contract architect to determine if its best to build a new county jail or a regional lock up in collaboration with Grays Harbor County.
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.