SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A hot topic of debate on Monday in front of the Greene County Commission was how to deal with jail overcrowding and other law enforcement needs. An advisory panel supports a sales tax increase. A public forum brought out nearly a hundred people, some who support and some who oppose asking voters for a tax hike.
Presiding Commissioner Jim Viebrock has said publicly that he does not favor a tax increase. The commissioners as a whole do recognize something has to be done, but no decision was made on exactly what to do. The commissioners heard plenty of passionate speakers who weighed in on the issue.
"Everyone wants law enforcement, everyone wants security, but rarely do they want to pay for it," said former Greene County Sheriff Jack Merritt.
"The people that elected you have the right to vote and you need to give them the right to vote, so let's put it on the ballot," said business owner Joe Jenkins.
"People don't like to provide blank checks when they vote," said anti-tax speaker Carl Herd.
The debate at the packed house was about whether to put on the ballot a 1/4-percent sales tax for more jailers, sheriff's deputies, and prosecutors, as well as expanding the jail.