GRANT COUNTY, Kan. ( KSNW) — Two issues on the ballot in Grant County revolved around a new jail. The current facility was built in 1972.
Grant County Commissioners wanted to pass a $15,500,000 bond project to replace the jail. That issue failed, with 64% of voters saying “no.”
The other issue would have created a 1% citywide retailers sales tax to pay for the facility. That issue also failed by 64%.
District 3 Commissioner Mark McGaughey believes voters did not understand why a new jail is needed.
“A lot of people didn’t attend our Q/A sessions that we had in the community. We wish more people would have came and asked some questions,” said McGaughey. “We tried to get the message out to everybody. We put it in their newspaper, we sent out flyer.”
He says voters also had concerns about their taxes going up. However, if the sales tax as approved, he said it would have had the opposite effect.
The sales tax increase would have decreased property taxes. McGaughey explains that the sales tax would have been more widespread, including people passing through the County. He says property owners would have benefited from the issue.
“You know, a lot of people just don’t want to see their taxes change at all, whether it’s the sales tax or property tax. They don’t want to see it go up. So it’s understandable. I don’t want to see mine go up either, but at the same time, we have a 50-year-old facility that needs a lot of repairs and modifications done to it,” explained McGaughey.
McGaughey says they will continue to use current property taxes to update the 50-year-old sewer and water lines at the current jail. They will also use the funds to create better security for inmates and officers.