With the approval of a commission order officially placing Proposition P on the April ballot, the Franklin County Commission breathed a short sigh of relief before the next phase of referendum passage begins.
At its meeting Tuesday, all three commissioners thanked the law enforcement and civic leaders who have helped draft the proposition and agreed to its parameters.
Despite public disagreement from the city of Washington about how the Prop P monies will be dispersed, the commission order was passed unanimously to place the referendum on the ballot with its current language.
Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer said this has been a long process, which started back in June when the commission first ordered the safety study of the jail.
“I think we are sending a message that we support our sheriff, sheriff’s department and all law enforcement no matter what city they are in,” Griesheimer said. “We have been very inclusive, working with the sheriff and all of the police chiefs, and we’ve done the best we can not to hamstring the future.”
Second District Commissioner Dave Hinson said the commission went through several drafts of the order and ballot language before finalizing.
He added some of the vagueness needed to be included due to future needs of the county, some known and some unknown.
“We had to draft the language so we won’t have to get into the trick bag on how we can use these resources,” Hinson said. “We are going to have to build a communications tower somewhere in the southern part of the county.”
Hinson added the communications are lacking in the Gerald and Berger areas as well, which will need to be addressed soon.
“Building towers cost a lot of money,” Hinson said. “If we got the language way too strict we wouldn’t be able to do these projects.”
First District Commissioner Tim Brinker says safety for the public, law enforcement and inmates is paramount and requires the passage of Proposition P.
“First and foremost, I want to thank everybody involved to this point,” Brinker said. “It’s not unknown that this county supports law enforcement, and to keep up with the times and facilities is important for everyone involved. I’m happy to be a part of this opportunity to secure the future of the county for years to come.”
Franklin County is proposing a half-cent sales tax expected to generate $6 million per year. Half of the money will go toward renovation for the county jail and 911 facilities while the additional $3 million will go to supplement all law enforcement agencies in the county.