Letter to the Editor: A Response to Transfer of Law Enforcement Funds

By Edward Peterka

Editor:
From the front page of the Douglas County Herald, November 7, 2019:
“Douglas County Presiding Commissioner Lance Stillings, and District No. 2 Commissioner Lawson Curtis voted to approve a transfer of funds from the Law Enforcement Sales Tax Fund in the amount of $126,493.86 on Monday, Nov. 4. The amount was moved into the General Revenue Fund.
The transfer amount was budgeted for 2019 and will be used to cover operational expenses. According to Karry Davis, County Clerk, the budgeted transfer will occur once a year.”
From the November 2016 Douglas County, Missouri General Election Ballot:
Proposition 1
Shall the County of Douglas, Missouri, impose a county-wide law enforcement sales tax in an amount not to exceed one-half (1/2) of one percent until or when the financing of a county jail and sheriff’s office has been paid, then the sales tax shall decrease to an amount not to exceed three-eights (3/8) of one percent, for funding law enforcement services for the County including without limitation, construction, improvement, staffing, operation and maintenance of a county jail and sheriff’s office?
Since the voters of Douglas County authorized a dedicated tax (by a margin of nearly 3 to 1) for a new jail and law enforcement in November of 2016, the Nov. 7th Herald article leaves some confusion as to the disposition of those funds:
Why are funds being transferred from the Law Enforcement Sales Tax Fund to the General Revenue?
Which operational expenses are they going to be used for?
Why will these transfers be done on an annual basis?
In 2016 the voters saw the need for a new jail and justice center and overwhelmingly supported it by taxing themselves to provide it.
I, for one, would like more clarity as to the use of these tax dollars.