We have all heard or read about the imminent closing of the Navajo Generating Station, Cholla Power Plant, and Kayenta Mine. The loss of these major employers in Navajo County will have a devastating effect on their employees and their families. Their closures will have an equally negative effect on the economic health of our region, which likely will result in reduced county services. At a time when we continue to recover from the sting of the past recession, the ripples will be felt by cities, too. That is why I write in support of establishing a jail district in Navajo County.

The proposed 1/3 of a cent sales tax increase would be shared by both local residents and visitors, so it does not place the burden solely on county and city residents. If the taxing district is not created, costs currently paid by the county will be shifted to cities and towns, such as medical costs for prisoners, increases in booking and jail fees, prosecution and defense counsel costs.

A jail district tax would set aside funds to operate the county jail, the largest public safety expense. Like it is at the city level, public safety takes the largest chunk of the budget. Our City Council knows firsthand the difficulty of juggling budget constraints with the importance of ensuring our citizens’ safety.

A jail district would also help the county promote economic development. When businesses think of locating here, seeing a separate funding source for vital public safety services is a huge plus.

For these reasons, I urge you to join me in voting Yes for the jail district.

Show Low Mayor Daryl Seymore

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