JUST IN: Sales Tax To Fund New Logan County Jail Passes
LOGAN COUNTY (KFSM) — A sales tax to fund the maintenance and construction for a new jail has been approved.
Logan County voters passed a 0.05% sales tax for jail and law enforcement facilities maintenance and operations (1881 for, 753 against) and a 0.05% sales tax to build a new facility (1842 for, 746 against).
Logan County residents will decide the fate of the local jail as voters head to the polls Tuesday (July 12).
The County Clerk’s Office is expecting a big turnout from citizens voicing their opinions after two inmates escaped from the detention center two weeks ago. Both escapees were later found and re-arrested.
The issue will be assessing an additional 1 percent sales tax with proceeds going to construction, maintenance and operation of a new 100-bed county jail.
Logan County Sheriff Boyd Hicks said that if voters don’t pass the tax increase, there’s a chance the present jail could be shut down. That would mean that the current Logan County inmates would be transported to other detention centers throughout the area. Officials said without a jail, Logan County would have to make arrangements with other local counties to house the inmates.
“We are going to have deputies tied up transporting inmates and not able to respond to calls for assistance, and that’s the greatest risk for public safety”, Hicks said.
According to the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page Tuesday, there are currently 32 inmates inside the facility; it can hold up to 39.
Sheriff Hicks said the present jail was built in 1989 and is out of date. Hicks also said security cameras are not laid out properly and a new facility would be a huge improvement to what the county has now.
“There will be more security cameras, and the cameras will be in positions where they can’t be destroyed,” Hicks said. “The cameras we currently have are on the ceilings eight-feet up, and the inmates can easily reach them and they frequently tear them down and rip the wiring out,” Hicks added.
Officials said the ballot question says bonds totaling no more than $13 million would be sold to finance construction. However, administrators said the new job will cost about $11 million.
The Logan County Quorum Court said the tax would retire within the next 15 years.
Many residents are voicing their opinions on the issue. “I’m definitely for it,” said Logan County resident Karen Czaplicki. “People want the streets of Paris to be safe, and the more arrests they make, the bigger the problem for our jail,” Czaplicki added.
“I voted against it because I don’t like the location of where they are going to put the new facility near the school,” said Logan County resident Stella Miller.
The new facility would be built on county land behind the Paris Police Department on South Lowder Street, according to Hicks.
Polls will stay open throughout the county until 7:30 p.m.