Recreation, sales tax levy on Tuesday’s ballot

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 1, 2022

Voters in Tuesday’s elections will be asked to make a decision on two ballot issues.

All Lawrence County voters will decide on a half percent sales tax for the construction and operation of a Lawrence County Jail.

Last year, the county received $16.8 million from the state for the purpose of building the jail. Commissioners say the sales tax will cover the remainder of the cost of construction and operation, a $32 million project.

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Last week, the commissioners announced that the original intended site for the new jail, the former Lombard Elementary, was being removed from consideration and that the jail would instead be constructed at the site of the former cement plant off Adams Street and County Road 24.

When asked by The Tribune what a new jail would mean to the county, Sheriff Jeff Lawless said, in addition to more space and ability to house inmates, it would bring “better conditions” and safety.

“The square footing would be better and we would have medical wards, to help those with medical issues,” he said, adding that counseling for those with addiction issues would also be available.

“We would have a lot more opportunities for drug rehab,” he said.

Should the sales tax not pass, Lawless said his office would have to continue “business as usual.”

“We would have to do the best we can,” he said. “Unfortunately, housing at many jails across the state. And hope we are able to sustain things for many years.”

Voters in Ironton are being asked to renew a half mill tax levy for purposes of providing and maintaining city’s recreational services.

Ironton City Council member Chris Haney, the chairman of the Recreation Committee, said that the renewal will not cost the taxpayers any more on their property taxes.

He said the funds are used for upgrading parks and to hold recreation programs.

“We did start a K-12 basketball league for kids this year and we never had that before,” Haney said. “We are also currently trying to put together a youth volleyball league. So those funds will go towards that.”

He said that many of the parks in town have been renovated and updated with money from this levy. The funds have also gone towards things like the drop in for boats.

“Another big thing is we would like to hold more events,” Haney said. “We would like to have a Memorial Day weekend pickleball tournament. So hopefully, we would like to see this levy pass and have more recreational opportunities around here.”