In Benton and Madison Counties, the issue is split into two parts.
Ballots in both counties had two propositions that have to do with increasing sales tax for jail expansions.
In Benton County, the first question voters denied was a 0.25% or a quarter of a cent sales tax to operate the jail. That’s equivalent to a quarter for every $100 you spend. If it was passed, the jail capacity would have tripled from what it is now.
Judge Barry Moehring says about 25% of Benton County’s budget goes to operating the jail. This sales tax would have been permanent had it passed.
The other question on Benton County ballots was a 0.125% or a one-eighth of a cent sales tax to pay for the bonds the county will sell in order to build the facility. This also did not pass.
Moehring says the county can spend up to $165 million on the project. This sales tax would have gone away once the bonds were paid off.
On Wednesday, Benton County Sheriff Shawn Holloway shared a statement regarding the failure to pass the jail expansion.
"We appreciate the citizens of our community exercising their right to vote. This is what makes this country so great. They have chosen not to pursue the project that was presented to them. We will continue the conversation and look for means to correct the jail overcrowding we have in the short-term and long-term solutions," Holloway said.
The same is true in Madison County where a new jail is proposed.
Winning by 82 votes, Madison County approved a 0.5% sales tax to sell upward of $17 million in bonds to build a jail but denied a permanent 1.25% sales tax to operate and maintain the jail.
Washington County already has a tax in place to operate its jail.
But voters denied a 0.25% sales tax to expand the jail. This was for a maximum of $113.5 million.
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