Half-Cent Sales Tax Results

9 years 3 months 3 weeks ago August 08, 2007 Aug 8, 2007 Wednesday, August 08 2007 Wednesday, August 08, 2007 11:10:44 AM CDT in News

The half cent sales tax passed today in Cole County. At about 8:30 p.m., all of the votes had been counted. Seventy-two percent voted "yes," with a 13 percent total turnout rate.

The money will be used to build a new jail and to expand the sheriff's department. Election officials today were talking about the low voter turnout but it was still higher than the county clerk predicted.

"Knowing that that's coming, knowing that the sales tax is going to be there and we're not heading towards bankruptcy as a county, it is a phenomenally important point," said Cole County Sheriff Greg White.

A citizen committee estimates the half-cent sales tax would cost the average Cole County family less than $84 per year and it would provide enough money to build the $24 million jail on land donated by Jefferson City at the corner of Adams and High St.

A similar sales tax failed in 2005. The big difference this time is the plan will cost $13 million less than the previous one. Unlike the '05 plan, where a new complex would have been built for all three facilities, the city will instead build a new jail and expand the courthouse.

Officials say that the lack of space was hindering the local judicial process.

"The problem is, we never had a jail for them to go to," said Steve Rasmussen, city administrator.

Sheriff White said the sales tax will begin when the new year starts. Construction on the new jail could start as early as the Spring of next year.

Extended Voting Statistics

- 39 of 39 precincts counted

- 50,419 total registered voters

- 6,798 total votes

- 13,48 percent voter turnout

- 4,899 votes for yes, equaling 72.11 percent of the total votes

- 1,895 votes voted no, equaling 27.89 percent of the total votes

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