"We came out really well on everything," said Sharp County Judge Joe Stidman. "The people of the county have really benefitted from this. They may not realize it now, but when they have to come to the county facilities they will really be able to tell a difference."
Since the voters approved the tax in November 2003, the county has completed a 4,800-square-foot addition to the courthouse called the Justice Complex. The addition includes offices for the sheriff, chief deputy and investigators. It also includes offices for the deputy prosecuting attorney and the third circuit judge of the 3rd Judicial District. It supplies an additional courtroom along with a jury room, an interview room and a secure area into which deputies can drive to deliver prisoners, connected to the sheriff's department.
Soon after the project was completed the county began construction on a new county shop building on Fairgrounds Road. An evidence room for the sheriff's office was the next project, followed by the jail addition.
The last project is the paving of an L-shaped parking lot for the new public health facility. The lot will serve the judicial complex as well. The chat parking lot will be paved after the building is completed. It could be completed as soon as late April, Stidman said.
"There is absolutely no way we could have done all this without that special tax," he said. The tax replaced a millage increase that went into effect a year before in order to account for county budget shortfalls and to help defray the cost of constructing the complex and other capital improvement projects.
The millage rate had been increased from 3.05 mills to 5 mills. The increase in millage generated approximately $271,000 a year. The tax brought in $375,450 in 2005. It brought in $32,444 in December alone from the collection in October. The tax averaged $28,000 a month in 2004, Stidman said. The tax revenue will continue in to the county for about two months because of the collection delay, he said.