Residents in Mercer County voted not to pass a proposed services levy. The essential services levy would have helped expand several organizations throughout Mercer County, such as the Mercer County Litter Control Department. If it would have passed, there would have been a slight increase on property taxes. Litter Control Officer Josh Parks believes the extra funding would have been helpful.
Parks said, “We have multiple dumps across the county that we have very limited funds to clean up. The levy would have also went a long way to help out with open dump cleaning.”
Mercer County Commissioner Greg Puckett said the Mercer County Health Department would have also benefited if the levy would have passed.
Puckett said, “We’ve got a very high rate of hepatitis B and hepatitis C and it’s the highest rate per capita of anywhere in the country actually. If you take that and combine that with HIV and some of the other health related consequences, that’s where we see the down turn. When we’re not able to effectively get out there and to do those screenings and to get people treatment and the help they need, it’s really difficult to overcome the health crisis that goes along with the drug crisis.”
If it would have passed, $1.6 million would have been raised each year for 5 years. Since the levy didn’t pass, they have to look for other options to help the county grow.
Puckett said, “We are going to get aggressive. We’re going to try to figure out as much as we can to find out where those new funds are going to be coming from.”