Marshall County might create car tag fee to pay for school resource officers

It could soon cost more to drive in Marshall County.

Posted: Jun 26, 2019 5:12 PM
Updated: Jun 26, 2019 5:37 PM

It could soon cost more to drive in Marshall County, but not if some taxpayers have anything to say about it.

A heated debate over adding a fee to car tags to fund school resource officers kicked off during a Marshall County Commission meeting Wednesday morning.

"Never had kids, never wanted kids, shouldn't have to pay for your kids," said Gar Benson, who lives in the county.

The county commission meeting room was packed as a dozen gave their opinions on a new car tag fee to pay for school resource officers.

"This stuff is relevant. You're literally talking about a dollar, dollar fifty, a month," said Patrick Smith, the principal of Douglas High School.

The commission has the ability to raise the car tag fee to $25 a tag, but officials are discussing options anywhere from $12 to $20. Marshall County Sheriff Phil Sims says it'll cost $1 million to get the program going for the first year, including salary, equipment and training.

That price tag bothered some taxpayers. Some people said they like the idea of adding more officers, but they just don't like how it's being paid for.

"It's not right to make someone have to pay for something they don't need, use or want," said Benson.

Marshall County Schools Superintendent Cindy Wigley and Sheriff Sims say school resources officers are exactly what the district needs. Right now, the district has the budget for eight part-time resource officers.

Right now, some commissioners say the funding just isn't there, but school officials say this should have happened years ago.

"It's an urgent need," said Smith.

The potential for another packed meeting will be in the commission chambers again on July 10th when the commission is set to vote on the fee. The commission is also discussing exemptions to the fee for people older than 65 years old, for people with disabilities and a per household limit.

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