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The Helena Arkansas Daily World - Helena, AR
  • Sales tax to pay for new jail

  • Deciding there wasn't enough money in the county's coffers to pay the enormous cost of getting the Phillips County jail back in running order, members of the quorum court have voted to initiate a special election to raise the much needed cash.
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  • Deciding there wasn’t enough money in the county’s coffers to pay the enormous cost of getting the Phillips County jail back in running order, members of the quorum court have voted to initiate a special election to raise the much needed cash.
    The special election, according to the ordinance the JPs approved, will be held Tuesday, May 20, the same day as the preferential primaries.
    After months of discussions, JPs determined that the county is in dire need of improvements, not limited to its existing jail facility but also the possibility of the construction of a new jail. The Phillips County jail was shut down last April after it failed a state inspection that turned up several serious violations.
    Since that time, Phillips County prisoners have been transported back and forth from several out-of-county jail sites – some as far away as Desha County – at a great expense to the county.
    The county is seeking to levy a 0.5 percent sales and use tax that’s proceeds will be distributed to the county for the purpose of acquiring, constructing, improving, expanding, equipping, furnishing, operating and maintaining a new or existing jail facility. Funds from the sales tax would also be used to pay and secure the repayment of bonds approved by the voters and issued by the county from time to time to finance the jail facilities and relating matters.
    The ordinance states that the levy of the tax is not dependent on any bonds being approved or issued.
    JPs approved the ordinances to proceed with the special election at a special called meeting of the quorum court on Feb. 25. The Helena World was not notified of the called session.
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