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      Boone 911 upgrades up for grabs

      The debate continues over a sales tax proposal for 911 upgrades in Boone County.

      Boone County Presiding Commissioner Dan Atwill and Boone County Sheriff Dwayne Carey showed their support for the tax increase during a luncheon with Boone County Democrats.

      Commissioner Atwill and Sheriff Carey told members of the Boone County Muleskinners there hasnâ??t been an upgrade in Boone Countyâ??s 911 service for more than 20 years. Boone County Commissioners voted to place a three-eighths cent sales tax on the April 2 ballot to help build a new joint communications facility, buy new equipment and add more emergency personnel.

      â??Weâ??ve looked at it for the past nine or ten months," Carey said. "The need is definitely there. Thatâ??s why people should support it.â??

      Members of an activist group for low-income people called GRO, or Grass Roots Organizing, oppose the sales tax increase because they believe sales taxes in Boone County are already too high.

      Grass Roots Organizing spokeswoman Mary Hussman said, â??We do not think that itâ??s a fair kind of tax. They always go to sales tax, sales tax, sales tax. We already have a very high sales tax. This is a regressive tax. That means that low-income people and middle income people end up paying a lot more.â??

      A nine-member county appointed panel came up with the ballot language for the 911 emergency management upgrades. The proposed tax would pay for the annual cost of more than $8 million for maintaining and upgrading services.

      The proposed 911 upgrades do not include an updated records system because organizers said it was not an urgent priority.