Greene County voters reject jail tax levy

Greene County Police Major Kirk Keller hopes Greene County residence will pass a sales tax to replace the aging building. JIM NOELKER/STAFF JIM NOELKER/STAFF
Caption
Greene County Police Major Kirk Keller hopes Greene County residence will pass a sales tax to replace the aging building. JIM NOELKER/STAFF JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

Unofficial voting results indicate 55% to 45% margin

Greene County voters are set to reject a 0.25% sales tax that would fund the construction of a combined 384-bed jail and sheriff’s office, according to unofficial final voting results.

Unofficial final results from the Greene County Board of Elections indicate that 45% of votes had been cast in favor of the levy, with 55% against.

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The levy would have imposed a 0.25% temporary sales tax on purchases made in Greene County that would fund the construction of a new facility for $53 million. The county jail is 52 years old and has been under a consent decree for 32 years, which limits the population of the jail and prohibits overcrowding. Officer locker rooms have been converted to detainee interview rooms, programming is conducted in jail administrator break rooms, and a sally port is unusable due to a crumbling foundation.

As a sales tax, the county estimates that 40% of the funding would be paid by non-Greene County residents who choose to spend their money at area businesses. Greene County’s sales tax is currently at 6.75 percent. The levy would bring it up to an even 7% for 16 years, and the tax would would be lifted as soon as the jail is paid for.

In 2020, Greene County voted down a similar levy that would have increased the number of beds from 382 to 500. That request failed by a margin of 61% to 39%.

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