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Commission Agrees to Tax Hike

The Boone County Commission agreed on Tuesday to put a 3/8 of a cent sales tax on April’s ballot to help improve its 911 call center.The commission says the current center is too small and understaffed and thinks the tax hike will better serve the community.”It’s important that we understand the seriousness of this problem because it can affect each and every one of us in this county in terms of our wealth and welfare,” said Boone County Commissioner Dan Atwill.Supporters of the new 911 call center are ready to take action to help the one call taker currently staffing the center.”The staffing, the funding, are inadequate for the needs of a county, which has grown tremendously in the last two decades,” said Barton Wechsler, the chair of the Emergency Advisor Board.Boone County Sheriff Dwayne Carey says if the ballot issue passes, he will add 20 full-time positions to the center and supporters say the tax hike could bring in around $9 million a year. Officials say that funding would go toward new technology and a convenient and larger location next to the Boone County Jail.”We want to add call takers, that immediate service, and add dispatchers,” said Sheriff Carey.Commissioner Atwill supports the hike, but is expecting a fight.”There will be opposition to this, I am sure, and it will be because there’s too much in the way of taxation already,” said Atwill.Sheriff Carey says he wants the community to seriously consider the need regardless of the tax hike.”That’s kind of my mantra, so to speak, is the help us help you,” said Carey. “If we don’t get this passed, we are in dire straights. It’s not a good situation there right now, we are having complaints weekly.”Currently, the operations center only has five employees. Supporters of the tax hike say they will be campaigning to convince voters about the need in the county.

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