Voters Approve New Jail Taxes In Franklin County

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FRANKLIN COUNTY (KFSM) — People in Franklin County went to the polls Tuesday (Aug. 8) for a special election being held on two new taxes to build a new county jail.

Nearly 21 percent of registered voters in the county cast a ballot. Almost 66 percent said yes to the first tax, and more than 67 percent agreed to the second tax.

Franklin County proposed to build and equip a new jail, emergency dispatch center and sheriff’s administration offices on county-owned property in Ozark.

The first of the two proposed taxes will go toward helping build and operate a new county jail by paying off capital improvement bonds.

Once the bonds are paid off, the tax would expire.

The new jail would hold 92 people. Officials said the jail usually has around 50 inmates on a daily basis but only has room for 36. Police said this has caused overcrowding issues throughout the years.

“It’s very unsafe for inmates and employees and I hope people realize this is just part of the growing process of the county,” said Franklin County Sheriff Anthony Boen. “This is something that’s going to happen and we need a jail and we really need this tax to pass.”

Voters decided on a second 0.125 percent sales tax that will be permanent and would be used to pay for the construction, furnishing, operating and maintenance of the new jail and law enforcement facilities.

If these taxes did not pass, the Franklin County Jail would have shut down and the county would have to transfer their inmates to another county jail.

Franklin County voters were also some of the first in the area to go through the state’s new voter ID law.

Documents or identification that would be accepted when voting in person would have to:

  • Show the name of the person to whom the document or ID was issued.
  • Show a photograph of the person to whom the document or ID was issued.
  • Be issued by the U.S., the state of Arkansas, or an accredited post-secondary educational institution in Arkansas.
  • Not be expired more than four years before the date of the election in which the voters seeks to vote, if there’s an expiration date on the document.

If a voter is submitting an absentee ballot, they would be required to send a copy of one of the following:

  • Driver’s license
  • Photo ID card
  • Concealed handgun carry license
  • U.S. passport
  • Employee badge or ID
  • U.S. military ID
  • Student ID card issued by an accredited post-secondary educational institution in Arkansas
  • Public assistance ID
  • Voter verification card

If a voter shows up to a polling location without the required ID, they will be allowed to cast a provisional ballot. That ballot will be counted if the voter agrees to sign a sworn statement under penalty of perjury, or if they return by noon the following Monday with the proper identification documents.