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Paying for Major Crime
Before jurors consider making anyone pay for the murders of five members of the Gee family in Beason, Logan County Board members must ensure that they can pay for a trial. On Thursday night board members considered a $1-million bond to cover major crime cases. Court cases for Jason and Christopher Harris, the men accused in the Gee murders from September 2009, could cost around a million dollars.
Speaking about major crime cases in general, Logan County Board members took an unofficial vote to adopt an ordinance of intent. It’s best described as a pledge to be paid back with money from an already existing revenue stream, not from a new tax.
In Logan County crime cases don’t get much more major than that of the Gee family murders, and the board’s finance committee has budgeted $600-thousand for major crime cases next year. With few options, the board is depending on this bond for that money. Board members explained that if the bond isn’t issued, coming up with the money in a one-year period would mean a reduction in the services the county already offers.
"The alternative would be for us to cut those services in the event we do have significant expenses next year and that would not be something that the people would want. It wouldn't be fair," said Vice-Chairman of the Logan County Board David Hepler.
The board will take an official vote about the alternative revenue bond on Tuesday. If that passes, there are still a few steps before the bonds can be issued. A public notice period leading up to a public hearing would be next. Voters could petition to stop the bond from moving forward; but it would take 7.5-percent of voters. If that doesn’t happen during the 30-day public notice period, the board can move to adopt the bond ordinance. Once the board votes to adopt the bond ordinance, the money will be issued within two weeks. The whole deal could be finalized by mid-November. Board members say whatever is left from the million they get will be used for major cases in the future.