May 11 the Marshall Lions Club met at Jose Tequila’s Mexican Restaurant and heard from County Judge Chad Sims and Ashley Dansby.
Lion Robert Wood introduced Sims who spoke on the County Assistance District Tax. Texas authorizes all counties to create county assistance districts and to adopt a local sales tax to fund public services, projects and programs. Counties are funded by property taxes only and to increase services means those taxes must be increased.
Obviously this is never a popular idea but like all other budgets, increases must be made to provide necessary services. The maximum sales tax by law is 6.25 percent. The Commissioner’s Court may approve a special election to increase the sales tax by 0.125 percent increments to a maximum of 2 percent.
Citizens who live outside the Marshall city limits but inside Harrison County are allowed to vote on this tax. Once approved, the Texas Comptroller collects and disperses the funds. Counties can only use these funds for specific items lined out in the budget. They can be used for road construction and maintenance, law enforcement, parks, libraries and museums, public health projects such as firefighting and prevention; and promotion of economic development and tourism.
For example: the businesses in the area of Interstate 20 will generate 3-5 million dollars of additional revenue that will be available to Harrison County. Judge Sims is visiting citizens in these areas to keep them well informed about the advantages of this tax.
Next to speak was Ashley Dansby, Chairman of the ‘Keep Marshall Beautiful’ program. She shared current programs and plans for the future. Recently volunteers cleaned up trash at the intersection of Hwy. 59 and I-20, one of many such events. Lion Sheriff B.J. Fletcher added inmates are always available to help with litter.
Several Lions asked about the state of roadsides, specifically why Highway 59 South is so well maintained while Highway 59 north and Highway 43 north and south are lined with high grass. Ashley did not have an answer but promised to look into it.
The meeting ended with the presentation of a Lions writing pen to Judge Sims and Chairman Dansby.