The Cochise County jail is almost 40 years old and in need of an upgrade. The Cochise County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with the county, is asking the public for help for funding the new jail.
Sheriff Mark Dannels told the attendees of Monday’s town hall that he’s not asked the residents for funding help since being elected, but he needs help for this new jail district. In May voters will have the option to vote yes or no to increasing the sales tax by half a cent. The funds brought into the county by the increase will be used for the new jail project.
I wish the money could fall from the sky and but thats not going to happen. We know that,” Sierra Vista Resident Joe Kraps said. “I think right now the sales tax is the only way to fund it.
During county administrator Rick Karwaczka’s presentation, he noted that the half-cent increase will generate roughly $8.5 million per year. If the county elected to use property taxes they would have to raise it by more than 30 percent to generate that same $8.5 million.
Commander Kenneth Bradshaw of the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office said there are many infrastructure problems with the current jail because of how it was built and because of it’s age.
“It wasnt built properly,” he said Monday night. “They built it with the inmates in mind, as far as just housing. They didnt build it security wise. It wasnt up to date when it was built. And they didnt think of the staff at all.
The sheriff’s department hopes to add more beds, a medical infirmary, better security and mental health services.
The special election will be held on May 16 via an all mail in ballots residents will be sent their one-question ballot in the mail. More information can be found on the county website.
UPCOMING PUBLIC MEETINGS
Each meeting is scheduled to take place from 6 – 8 p.m.
Willcox – Wednesday, March 29 Willcox High School Auditorium Palominas – Friday, March 31 Palominas School Gymnasium Bisbee – Monday, April 3, Cochise County Board of Supervisors Hearing Room Douglas – Tuesday, April 4, City of Douglas Visitor Center Benson – Wednesday, April 5, Benson School District Multi-Purpose Building/Cafeteria