Commissioners thank voters, City of Hays
On May 14, 2013, Ellis County voters approved a one-half cent per dollar local sales tax to construct a new building for Fire and Emergency Medical Services and extensively renovate the County Courthouse and Law Enforcement Center. That sales tax went into effect on October 1, 2013, and sunset five years later on September 30, 2018.
At the time of the election, the sales tax was projected to generate $14,352,000 over the five-year period to repay bonds issued to finance construction of the two facilities. Reconciliation of the sales tax receipts through December 28, 2018, indicates that the tax actually generated $16,299,016.69. Expenditures on construction and associated expenses totaled $14,887,328.70, leaving a remaining balance of $1,411,687.99. Ellis County Commissioners will consider in February of 2019 plans for spending that remaining balance.
The County Commissioners would like to thank the voters of Ellis County for their trust in County government. Using proceeds of the sales tax, the new Fire and EMS building at 1105 E. 22nd Street in Hays was completed and occupied in late 2015 and the Courthouse and Law Enforcement Center were reoccupied in March 2016, with final bond payment being made in August 2018.
Commissioners would also like to thank the Hays City Commission. Of the $16.3 million raised by the sales tax over its five-year life, nearly 54 percent ($8,785,609.64) was from the City’s portion of the countywide tax that the City of Hays contributed for these building projects. “This is a great example of what we can accomplish when we work together as a community, irrespective of jurisdictional lines,” said outgoing Ellis County Commissioner Barbara Wasinger.
Added County Commission Chair Dean Haselhorst, who served as Project Manager for completion of the construction: “As exciting as it was to open our facilities, it is thrilling to have the bonds paid off and to have funds remaining. I look forward to working with our new Commission to determine the best use of these additional proceeds and I’m proud that we were able to sunset the sales tax as promised.”
— Submitted by Ellis County Administrator Phillip Smith-Hanes