Presiding Callaway County Commissioner Gary Jungermann wants to help inform the public on upcoming propositions on the Nov. 5 election ballot.
Jungermann shared an informative new county-made video with the Rotary Club of Fulton on Wednesday. The video outlined upcoming ballot propositions 1 and 2 and their background.
"We just want to educate people. We want people to understand what we're going through and what we're asking them to understand and to see the need to show us their support," Jungermann said.
According to the video, Proposition 1 is a half-cent sales tax to fund the ongoing needs of the Callaway County Sheriff's Department. Proposition 2 is a half-cent sales tax to fund the capital expenditures to build a new Callaway County Jail and Judicial Center, plus renovations of the existing courthouse.
Jungermann announced the county purchased the property of Par-Five Auto Sales and will close on a deal to purchase The Mattress Store today. He said these would be ideal locations to have the new judicial center, and offices will begin to be moved to these locations in the near future.
"We bought the Par-Five property because we had a need for our public administrator's office to be moved and that will happen probably in November," Jungermann said. "We currently rent where she's at, and last year, we were informed that (2019) would be the last year we could do that."
Jungermann said the county will begin using these properties whether the propositions pass or not. He said there is a "really good chance" that some of the county's administrative offices will have to be moved to The Mattress Store in order to create space for the court system in the courthouse.
Callaway County Sheriff Clay Chism emphasized, after midnight each night, the sheriff's office is limited to only two deputies to patrol the 842 square miles of the county. He said the Missouri Highway Patrol is on an "on-call" basis after midnight.
"(There are things that Callewegians) don't know because they're just not involved on a daily basis. They take a lot of things as that everything is good and moving along," Jungermann said.
Jungermann and Chism both hope the propositions pass in November but said if they do not, they're going to continue to move forward in finding solutions to fund law enforcement and make room for the expanding staff at the county courthouse.
However, Jungermann did say the county's convenience to the taxpayers may be impacted in the future if the taxes don't pass.
"Things are going to change a lot and they won't be as handy for the taxpayers when they come into the current courthouse," Jungermann said. "They may have to travel a little up and down the street, and a lot of people like the 'one-stop-shop' we try to have."
Concerning the Callaway County Jail, Jungermann and the video cited its various spacing issues. According to Chism, the jail has general population space for 74 inmates, yet the jail has been averaging 80-85 inmates on a daily basis.
Jungermann also cited the limited capacity the jail has for female inmates. According to the commissioner, the jail houses 18-20 female inmates daily, but those inmates are housed communally, with little ability to separate potential troublemakers.
According to Jungermann, the total projected costs of the project would be between $28 million-$30 million. He said a half cent sales tax in Callaway County is able to generate approximately $1.8 million annually.
"I don't think there's one of us, as elected officials, that want to be doing (a tax increase), but because we have to do something before we have bigger problems, here we are today," he said.
Though Prop. 2 is set to end in March 2041, or when the debt is paid off, Prop. 1 will continue funding law enforcement needs indefinitely.
The Callaway County Commission will be hosting two public forums to speak directly with taxpayers about the propositions. The first public forum will take place at 6 p.m. Oct. 17 at 213 S. Summit Drive in Holts Summit and the second will take place at 6 p.m. Oct. 24 at 54 Country. The informational video can be found on YouTube titled "Callaway Proposal 2019 Long."