The city of Union has not taken an official stance on Proposition P.
The referendum, which is set to be on the April ballot, would authorize Franklin County to impose a new half-cent tax on all retail sales in Franklin County and, if successful, is expected to generate about $6 million annually.
According to a county commission order passed this week, revenues from this sales tax will be allocated as follows: one-half of the proceeds shall be distributed to the cities and towns in the county and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office according to the percentage of their commissioned law enforcement officers as of Jan. 1, 2018.
The other half of the new funds are proposed to go to Franklin County to be used for additions and renovations to the county jail and 911 dispatching center.
Those improvements are expected to cost about $30 million and plans include an extensive addition and floor plan redesign of the existing jail, dispatch center and sheriff’s department offices.
There is currently no sunset clause on this sales tax.
City Administrator Russell Rost said that the proposition has not been discussed publicly by city officials.
“Any opinion needs to be the product of an open, public board meeting with the board of aldermen and mayor, and after they give me direction on what the city would support,” Rost said.
He added that it would be inappropriate for him, as an appointed official, to give an opinion.
Further, the city has not been asked by the county commission to endorse the measure and it has not been on an agenda for discussion.
If the endorsement request is forthcoming, Rost said he will do the research and present it to the board.
“They will seek public input to form their personal opinions and that, along with the research and discussion, is when they would make a decision about Proposition P,” Rost said. “Any opinion would be the result of a discussion of the entire board in an open public meeting.”
The city of Washington has voiced its opposition to the ballot measure in a letter to the Franklin County Commission.
Washington instead proposes the distribution of funds based on officers and population, and asked for yearly reviews of the disbursements.