JAY - Delaware County Commissioners voted to pass a resolution to hold a special election to pass a .5 percent sales tax increase to pay for the $13.5M lawsuit settlement concerning the Delaware County Jail during their meeting held Wednesday morning.

The proposal will be voted on April 3, 2012 and the tax increase will run for 17 years at which time it will be dropped. Sales tax collections would start July 1, 2012 if the measure passes.

The full amount of what the county has to pay is yet to be determined. A lawsuit with the Delaware County Commissioners and the Delaware County Sheriff as plaintiffs was filed against the county's insurance company, Association of County Commissioners of Oklahoma (ACCO) on Dec. 22 in Delaware County. The lawsuit may take as long as 18 months to settle, according to authorities.

Presently, the county carries a $1M liability for each occurrence. The county is going to claim there were 16 separate occurrences, thus making ACCO pay $16M dollars.

The passage of the 17 year sales tax increase will run only until the debt is retired, and until the lawsuit with ACCO is settled, the county has no way of knowing the actual amount to be raised.

Should the sales tax measure fail, the settlement falls to ad valorem (or property) taxes by state statute.

In other matters:

A hearing date of Feb. 1 at 1 p.m. in the district court has been set to vacate a portion of roadway located in Helen's Cherokee Acres.

Blanket purchase orders were approved for the county and the Delaware County Fire Departments.

A tort claim was turned over to the insurance company on a Sheriff's Department vehicle.

All bids were rejected on the installation of commercial surveillance equipment for the jail.

The meeting of the Delaware County Commissioners will be held on Tues., Jan. 3 starting at 9 a.m. In the commissioners office of the Delaware County Courthouse.