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MORE THAN HALF OF TAX INCREASE ISN’T GOING TO DAVIS COUNTY JAIL

SHARE MORE THAN HALF OF TAX INCREASE ISN’T GOING TO DAVIS COUNTY JAIL

More than half of the tax increase that Davis County voters approved two years ago to pay for a new jail will go to non-jail uses, under the county's proposed 1990 budget.

Of the $1.2 million in new revenue being raised by the tax increase, only $500,000 is earmarked for operating the new jail, scheduled for completion in October or November of next year.The rest of the money is being used to pay for other county government expenses and to make up for some expected revenue shortfalls, county budget analyst LaMar Holt said.

A public hearing on the proposed 1990 Davis County budget is scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 13, in the commission chambers of the County Courthouse.

The proposed general fund for next year is $13.1 million, up from this year's $10.7 million, partly fueled by the $1.2 million property tax increase.

The increase amounts to $15 annually for the owner of a $70,000 house and was approved two years ago by county residents as part of the passage of an $18.5 million bond issue to build the county's new jail and court complex in west Farmington.

The county commissioners gave tentative approval to the proposed budget, including the property tax increase, at its last meeting.

Holt said a change in state law that took effect this year will cost the county an estimated $300,000 in revenue from the county justice of the peace court.

Revenue from fines and traffic citations written by Utah Highway Patrol troopers and Davis County deputy sheriffs had been directed through the county justice court into the county general fund.

But under the new formula, the revenue is directed back to the city where the ticket was written, with the county receiving fines only from tickets written in the unincorporated area.

With that change, the justice court in the courthouse basement in Farmington has dropped from handling between 1,500 and 2,000 tickets a month to about 200, Holt said.

In addition to losing that $300,000, the county will need up to $400,000 in new money for employee salary increases, $120,000 to pay for next fall's general election and $150,000 for computer system maintenance, according to Holt.

And, the county's senior citizen program was given an additional $110,000 to operate its new center in Kaysville. The center is being built with federal grant funds and private donations, but the county has pledged to come up with the money to operate it when it is completed and signed over to county ownership.

The commissioners allocated $500,000 of the $1.2 million tax increase to the jail operating fund but have not resolved how the money will be spent.

Sheriff Harry Jones has told the commissioners that he needs 50 to 60 additional staff members to operate the new 400-bed facility, not counting other operations and maintenance costs.

Holt said the county will realize a total of about $1.5 million in additional property tax revenue in 1990, with $1.2 million coming from the tax increase, $200,000 retained from the state-mandated assessing and collecting fee and about $150,000 generated by growth.