Sales tax issue on ballot Tuesday

Lake Sun staff
Polls will open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

Camden County voters will have only one issue on the ballot for Tuesday’s August election.

Voters will decide the outcome of a proposed 1/4 cent sales tax earmarked for law enforcement.

Polls will open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

Camden County Sheriff Tony Helms said the sales tax vote is a critical juncture for his department.

The tax proposal, calling for a 1/4 cent tax on goods and services in Camden County, is a chance for voters to make a decision about what kind of sheriff’s department they want in their county. Camden County voters can either say yes and give the department the resources needed to build a first-class department for a first-class county or they can say no and continue to pay third-class wages, continue to lose trained deputies to agencies that pay more and pay the price on overtime, turnover and response times, Helms said.

If passed, the 1/4 cent sales is expected to generate approximately $2.4 million annually for the sheriff’s Department. Unlike the law enforcement sales tax that is split between several different departments, the proposed sales tax is earmarked specifically for the sheriff’s department.

The 2021 budget for the sheriff’s department is approximately $7.2 million.

Of the money raised by the tax, Helms estimates that between $600,000-$650,000 will be used for pay raises to get deputies to $42,000 a year. On top of this, Helms says they will hire more help for the department, including 10 deputies. Helms also wants to use a portion of the funds to increase pay for correctional officers, as well as dispatchers.