McInnis reassures council about funding for center
Grand Junction officials have “legitimate concerns” about how the city-run emergency communications center will be affected by a soon-to-be proposed sales tax increase, Mesa County Commissioner Scott McInnis said.
Those concerns stand to be allayed by the wording of the question, which is now being studied by attorneys who are experts in bonding measures, McInnis said.
The hope is to build an ironclad question that will direct proceeds of a new sales tax to the Mesa County sheriff’s and district attorney’s offices, as well as 14 other agencies, McInnis said.
Under the outline that has been shown to various organizations, the 0.37 percent sales tax would raise more than $1.1 million that could be directed to the center that dispatches 23 agencies to crime and emergency responses.
Grand Junction, which operates the center, would stand to gain the greatest amount, $500,000 annually, from the new tax, McInnis said.
City councilors worried aloud on Monday that they had been given little information about the tax increase and how the money would be distributed.
The city council could count on the $500,000 payment each year, which it could use on the dispatch center, McInnis said.
Likewise, the 14 other agencies that stand to benefit from the new revenues can devote the new money toward their shares of the costs of operating it, McInnis said.
The amounts of money each agency stands to receive is tied to the number of calls that the dispatch center sends its way.
Under what has been discussed, the measure will ask voters to increase the existing county sales tax, now 2 percent, to 2.37 percent.
In Grand Junction, that would mean a total sales tax rate of 8.02 percent, or just more than 8 cents on the dollar. In Fruita, it would be 8.27 percent, or 8.27 cents per dollar of sales. Merchants in unincorporated areas would charge a 4.27 percent sales tax.
The increase is estimated to generate $7,175,061 annually and under the proposed breakdown, each year the sheriff’s office would receive $4,828,481 and the DA $1,207,120. Grand Junction would receive $500,000 and the remaining agencies would split $639,460.
The deadline to get the measure to the county clerk’s office is Sept. 8 and the last regularly scheduled commission meeting before that is Aug. 28.