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Herkimer County set to extend sales tax to pay for new jail

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Herkimer County Legislature is requesting an extension on the county's sales tax to help pay for the construction of a new jail. The state legislature will have to sign off on the measure. It will extend the 1 1/4 % sales tax that's currently in place for another 2 years. 1/4 of a percent will go specifically to funding the construction of a new jail.

Chairman of the Herkimer County Legislature Vincent Bono says the county has already set aside over $12 million for the jail construction project with the sales tax combined with tobacco settlement money. By extending this tax, he estimates to have almost half of the estimated $33 - 35 million project paid for by the end of the year, with the burden not just on property owners.

"Everybody pays for it this way, not just the property tax payer," said Chairman Bono. "This allows outsiders whether you stop on the Thruway or come in outside the state to vacation here, they're helping pay for the new jail."

The additional sales tax is something not all legislators agree with. 3 legislators opposed the measure.

"That takes as one of the legislatures says $4,600 dollars a day out of the local economy," said Helen Rose. "That could well be out there stimulating the economy and we're saving for a jail that is oversized."

Legislator Rose thinks instead, the county should re-look at the size of the construction project before taking any additional money out of the local economy.

The total sales tax for the county stands at 8 1/4 % with New York State sales tax is at 4 %, Herkimer County sales tax at 4 % with 1/4 % designated specifically for jail construction.

Even though the majority of Herkimer County legislators have approved the building of a new jail, constructions currently at a stand still, delayed with the Village of Herkimer trying to change zoning to prevent the jail's construction. The next trial is planned for September.

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