Howard County JPs to consider ‘voluntary tax’ at next meeting

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    By Louie Graves
    News-Leader staff

    A lingering fiscal problem might be resolved next month when Justice of the Peace Kirk Bell brings a proposal to the quorum court.

    Bell, who serves also on the board of the Mine Creek Soil and Water Conservation District, has championed a voluntary tax which would produce income for the district and qualify it for outside support. The sticking point would be extra effort in the collector’s office and the computer software expense.

    At the court’s regular meeting for September on Monday, Bell promised a vote up or down for the tax net month, and then the matter would be dropped.

    By enacting the voluntary tax on real estate and personal, the local conservation district could qualify for greater federal funding for spending on local projects.

    The tax was discussed Monday, and Sheriff-Collector Bryan McJunkins described the expense and effort, comparing it to Pike County which has had the tax for several years.

    Bell indicated that large landowners who get the most benefits from district loans and assistance would be most likely to voluntarily tax themselves.

    County Judge Kevin Smith said that potential bidders for taking down parts of the old hospital would meet at the site Wednesday to get specifications, and that bids would be opened Sept. 27.

    The newest of the old hospital’s expansions will be kept for county use, and debris from the other wings will be buried on the campus.

    JPs heard a current report from Howard Memorial Hospital administrator Debra Wright.

    Present Monday were JPs Janice Huffman, Brent Pinkerton, Martha Hobbs, Gary Welch, Bobby Don Turner, Kerry Strasner, Jerry Harwell, Dick Wakefield and Bell. Constitutional officers present included Sheriff McJunkins, Judge Smith, Treasurer Sheri Mixon, Circuit Clerk Angie Lewis, Tax Assessor Deb Teague and County Clerk Keri Teague.

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