Portage County officials are floating the idea of putting a sales tax increase on the ballot in the near future, with money earmarked to pay for expansion of the jail and repair of roads and bridges.

Portage residents now pay 7 percent.

Commissioners discussed the possibility last week after hearing from Engineer Michael Marozzi about the lack of money for road and bridge repair.

Commissioner Kathleen Chandler first suggested that the state increase the tax on the oil and gas well industry and have some of that money go to county engineers.

State and federal money is available, but Marozzi said he does not have the money for the local 20 percent match.

Commissioners could put into effect a quarter-percent increase without voter approval, but both Chandler and Maureen Frederick said they'd prefer to let voters make the decision.

Chandler said the board should consider "if we want to put a sales tax increase on the ballot, with some combination going to the sheriff and the engineer."