Jail tax was not intended for sports complex

To the editor:

It would appear Mr. (Richard) Frymire was pulling our leg 20 years ago when he introduced, advertised and implemented the 10% insurance premium levy as a “surcharge” needed to pay for a new, much-needed county jail.

I suspect it wasn’t relabeled a “tax” until after the next election, with the hope that people would soon forget — some haven’t.

So the jail is now paid in full (The Messenger Jan. 30 2020), but the associated revenue is now considered fair game by the court and available for a wish list sports complex.

Credit Hannah Myers for unearthing “no sunset clause in writing” as a solution for my letter in the Messenger (2/17/19) questioning the validity of continuing the levy once the jail was paid for. Of course, it took nearly a year to come up with a response.

While Billy Parrish numerated the 90% of his district respondents who were averse to the idea of continuing the assessment, Judge Whitfield was quick to counter with the old, reliable, generic “a large percentage of comments he’s heard support the idea”. That begs the question of just how many made those comments and where were they made? I know he didn’t come to my door.

An interesting study might be to compare the final cost of the jail vs. the total amount of revenue collected over the past 20 years. Was any of that money used for “other” purposes? I remember ex-Mayor David Jackson was interested in getting his ladle into the pot in order to “shore up pensions”. Just a thought.

But I suppose we are all, again, expected to be “good sports” and quietly accept yet another “they got one — we want one” boondoggle.

Bruce R. Sherrill


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