Marion County spends 60 percent less on jails and law enforcement than do the 10 Kansas counties closest to it in population.
According to a study by the independent Kansas Policy Institute and published in this newspaper last summer, Marion County spends $54 per resident annually (or 4 percent of its operating budget) on its jail and sheriff’s office.
The average Kansas county of similar size spends $134 per resident or 15 percent of its operating budget.
The next cheapest county after Marion is Marshall (Marysville), which still spends more than 50 percent more per resident on jails and enforcement than Marion County does.
Even with a proposed half-cent increase in sales tax, Marion County spending on its jail and sheriff’s office would remain more than 28 percent below average for similar-sized counties in the state.
Both in Marion County and in the 10 similar-sized counties, roads combine with law enforcement to account for 42 percent of spending per resident.
The typical county spends a little less than twice as much on roads and bridges as it does on jails and law enforcement.
Marion County spends a whopping nine times as much on roads and bridges as it does on jails and law enforcement.
Even with the proposed half-cent sales tax, the county would spend five times as much on roads and bridges as it does on jails and law enforcement.