Reno County Commissioners Approve Vote On New Jail

By: Parrish Alleman Email
By: Parrish Alleman Email

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Voters in Reno county will get a second chance to decide whether to raise the sales tax a half percent in order to build a new jail. A similar proposal was voted down in 2006.

The Reno County sheriff says a new jail is an absolute necessity for the county and he's inviting anybody who doesn't believe to go inside and take a look before they head to the polls.

If you were to step inside the Reno county jail, Sheriff Randy Henderson says you'd notice a few things right away. It's old and too small but he says there are more problems than the eye can see.

"Beside the fact that we are overcrowded, we are on the verge of federal lawsuits every day,” Sheriff Henderson said.

That's why he hopes voters say yes this April to a proposed sales tax increase, that would pay for the $28.9 million project.

"It's not a Taj Mahal. We're trying to be fiscally responsible to the public but getting what we need for Reno county,” Sheriff Henderson said.

The Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce hasn't taken a side on the issue but the president says some might argue a sales tax hike could cause consumers to spend their money outside Reno county. Still, he says the problems at the jail need to be fixed.

"While we are unapologetically a pro-business organization, we also recognize the importance that quality of life for residents plays,” Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jason Ball said.

Many voters we spoke with told us they'll be voting yes this April.

"Yeah I would be in favor of it because our jail is real run down,” Andrea Holder said.

“I'm for it. I think it's long overdue the building is old. It's crowded,” Gordon Roth said.

And for those who are undecided or against the tax increase, Sheriff Henderson says he'd like for them to get informed and see the problems for themselves.



Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Reno County voters will decide in April whether to approve a half-percent county sales tax increase to fund a new county jail.

The tax increase would cover the costs of building a new jail, renovating the current jail and jail annex into offices, and create a secure corridor in the county courthouse.

The Reno County Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to put the proposal on the April 2 ballot.

The proposed project is $28.9 million. The new jail would be on 11 acres of land and would feature 250 beds with the infrastructure for expansion.

If approved, construction could begin in October.


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