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Kingman County residents vote no on sales tax to fund new jail

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, at 10:58 a.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, at 10:29 p.m.

In a close vote Tuesday, Kingman County residents rejected proposed sales taxes that would have funded a new law enforcement center and 32-bed county jail.

Although results won’t be official until canvassing is complete Monday, officials at the Kingman County clerk’s office said the approximately 24 provisional ballots left to count wouldn’t change Tuesday’s outcome. Under consideration was a new, 20-year, one-quarter-cent sales tax and a 20-year extension of an existing three-quarter-cent sales tax to build the $11.8 million facility in Kingman. Plans called for additional inmate beds, offices for the county sheriff and Kingman police departments, an emergency operations center, the county’s 911 call center, and records and evidence storage.

The vote was 802-749.

Asked for comment following Tuesday’s special election, Kingman County Sheriff Randy Hill said he is hopeful voters will be open to a new jail and law enforcement center in the future. He added that a new facility would have provided necessary security updates, “a strong emergency command” and enough beds “to carry us through the next 20, 30 years.”

The current law enforcement center was built in 1959. It holds 13 beds.

“I’m hoping that we’ll get some feedback and we’ll see where we can go,” Hill said. “We’re a growing department.”

About 28.8 percent of Kingman County’s 5,491 registered voters turned out for the special election, according to the county clerk’s office.

Voters cast ballots at locations in Kingman, Murdock, Norwich, Zenda and Cunningham, according to the county clerk’s office. The polls closed at 7 p.m.

Reach Amy Renee Leiker at 316-268-6644 or aleiker@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @amyreneeleiker.

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