During their second regular February meeting, the Mason County Commissioners' Court made the decision to seek an additional half cent in sales tax revenue to help fund EMS and medical services in the county.
The Court had discussed the issue at length during their February 9th meeting, so discussion was a bit more limited time. They all agreed that the half cent sales tax increase, raising Mason County's rate from 7.75% to 8.25% was the most efficient way of relieving the funding shortfall experienced by the EMS service.
Judge Jerry Bearden noted that, based on past records, the additional half cent could generate up to $160,000. To raise the same amount of revenue through property taxes would require more than a two cent increase in current rates. He and members of the Court also reminded those in attendance that it will not just be Mason County residents paying this sales tax; but, all the visitors, hunters and tourists that visit the area as well.
Once the decision had been made to seek the increase, the next decision was date and location. Since the City of Mason and Mason I.S.D. also have scheduled elections for May 9th, it was decided to have their election on the same day. Rather than having to man four different polling places on election day, the County will contact the Justice Department and request permission to consolidate all voting into one location at the courthouse.
The issue will now be decided by the voters. When a similar measure was placed before Mason County voters in 1998, it passed overwhelmingly.