Scott County's tax plan gets big boost at the polls

Scott County voters have given a strong endorsement to a sales tax plan to fund law enforcement, E-911 and other contingencies. In a special election Tuesday, the results were almost 3 to 1 in favor of the plan, which also eliminates the county property tax. Another feature of the plan is a sunset provision, which means the half-cent sales tax will expire at the end of 2016.

The election was originally scheduled for earlier in the month, but the ice storm that hit the area postponed the vote.

County officials who promoted the tax plan, particularly Presiding Commissioner Jamie Burger, believe sales tax revenue will remain strong in spite of the recession.

A previous county sales tax, also with a sunset clause, expired last September after being in effect eight years. Revenue from that tax was used primarily to build a new jail. In anticipation of the expiration, voters were asked in early 2007 to extend the tax, but they turned the proposal down. County officials then proposed the plan that went before voters this week -- a plan that reflected the concerns of county residents.

The overwhelming approval of the new plan is a good example of county officials working with voters to come up with a plan that meets the county's revenue needs while easing the property tax burden.