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Custer County seeks jail bond approval

Custer County Commissioners are asking voters to approve a $5.5 million general obligation bond issue at the polls on Tuesday. The funding would help bring the county courthouse into compliance with minimal ADA standards.

The bond would also replace the existing county jail. The jail, built in 1904, has been designated as an historic building and cannot be torn down, but it does not meet minimum requirements or building standards for use as a jail. A new jail would have to be built somewhere near the existing facility, but the current jail cannot be remodeled to code.

County Commissioner Steve Smith said the county has so far avoided legal difficulties because it is taking action to address the problem.

Commissioners propose a two-story jail of 28 beds that would be capable of doubling in capacity to meet the county’s needs well into the future.

If approved, the bond would cost property taxpayers about $59 per $100,000 of assessed valuation, before the homeowner tax exemption is applied.

Other options could be even more expensive. Smith said it would cost approximately $225,000 per year to transport county prisoners to some other location. And, he said, that price would not include the cost of personnel to transport prisoners to and from court, which would have a significant staffing impact on the sheriff’s department.

The bond issue requires a two-thirds majority for approval.

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