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Greene County rejects sales tax hike for new jail, sheriff’s office

The current Greene County Jail in downtown Xenia has been in use for 51 years. Staff photo / Sarah Franks
The current Greene County Jail in downtown Xenia has been in use for 51 years. Staff photo / Sarah Franks

Greene County voters have rejected a sales tax increase to fund a new jail and sheriff’s office.

Issue 12 was defeated by voters by a significant margin of 19,893 against and 12,622 in favor, according to unofficial results Tuesday night from the Greene County Board of Elections.

It asked Greene County voters to pass a 12-year, quarter-percent sales tax increase, something Greene County Citizens Against Giant Jail Tax opposed.

VISIT ELECTION RESULTS HERE

Issue 12 supporters said the tax hike is needed to build a 500-bed facility costing an estimated $70 million to build.

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A new facility would house the jail, administrative offices and adult detention center, Sheriff Gene Fischer has said. He said getting the three facilities under one roof would make the office much more efficient and would be helpful for detectives.

The county’s current sales tax is 1%, which generates more than $27 million a year for the county’s general fund, said County Auditor David Graham. A quarter-percent increase would generate more than $6 million a year in additional revenue, he said.

A new facility would have replaced the 50-year-old jail in downtown Xenia. The facility has had roof leaks, been inhabited by bats and has areas that are endanger of collapsing,Fischer has said.

Residents opposed to Issue 12 said they agree a new jail is needed, however, the proposed capacity is the issue.

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Members of the Greene County Citizens Against Giant Jail Tax said they are confused why the county commissioners chose a consultant’s option that was the most costly and called for 30% increase in beds.