El Paso County voters could soon decide on a sales tax increase. The sheriff went before the Board of County Commissioners Tuesday morning to ask for extra funding.
Sheriff Terry Maketa told the Board of County Commissioners his office needs a larger staff, and the jail needs to replace doors, its video visitation system and equipment like washers and cooking materials. That's on top of food and medical plans for inmates.
“The last thing I want to do is build this hype that there's going to be some magical date when everything's going to crumble,” he said. “That's not how it works. It's a continued decay.”
To get all the things on the sheriff's needs list would cost about $22.5 million. He says years of budget cuts have had a significant impact, and the only option now is to ask for the public’s help.
The sheriff proposes a sales tax increase of .0023 cents per dollar, or 23 cents per 100 dollars.
It's up to the board to decide if his request goes on the November ballot. Commissioners said they weren’t surprised by the sheriff's needs. They've been hearing them for years. But the sheriff now wants voters to choose.
“To do nothing is what we've been doing and it hasn't worked,” Sheriff Maketa said. “So we'll put it before the public. It might not make a difference, but we'll never know if we don't try.
The deadline to get the sheriff's proposed sales tax increase on the November ballot is September 7th. Commissioners could take an initial vote at their meeting on Thursday.