Johnson County commissioners have approved the sale of $69.1 million of lease revenue bonds to finance an expansion of public safety facilities. The issue is the first tranche from $118 million of debt supported by an extension of a 0.25% sales tax approved by voters in August.

The bonds are scheduled to go to market on Oct. 23.

The lease revenue bonds would be issued by the Johnson County Public Building Commission, which consists of the seven county commissioners.

The projects include $30.3 million for a new crime lab and $27.8 million to expand the jail in downtown Olathe into a booking facility.

The tax would have expired on Dec. 31, 2008, but the extension does not have an expiration date. The 0.25% sales tax was approved by voters in 2002 and 2005 to provide funds for economic development.

Johnson County’s outstanding debt, including general obligation bonds and lease revenue bonds, totals $100 million. It’s rated triple-A by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service. Officials said it is one of fewer than 40 counties in the country with an unenhanced triple-A bond rating.

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