$5 Million Jail Bond Heads to New Mexico Voters in November
(08/29/2012)

Socorro, N.M. — Socorro County Manager Delilah Walsh presented the results of a jail bond survey to the Board of County Commissioners at its meeting on Aug. 14. Based on county residents’ general approval of the jail bond issue, the board voted to place a $5 million bond on the November ballot.

As it stands, the county’s plan is to commit $1.5 million for the new jail from the general fund, then pay for the bond with an existing levy of 1.9 mills, which was previously used to refurbish the building which houses the District 7 court.

In Eugene, Ore., the Lane County Board of Commissioners decided to put off a public safety measure until the May 2013 ballot. Lane County Sheriff Tom Turner says he is heartened by the results of a recent poll that shows 52 percent of those surveyed would favor a modest increase in property taxes to fund jail beds. He said delaying a funding measure could mean public safety continues to deteriorate in Lane County.

The sheriff stated that an increase of 50 cents per $1,000 dollars assessed value on property could bring the Lane County Jail back to full capacity. After the latest cuts to the budget, the jail currently has only 152 beds available for local felons.

In Michigan, a $38.8 million millage renewal to fund Wayne County jails and a proposal for a new tax to pay for police and fire services in Warren won voter approval.

Voters backed the renewal of a 10-year, one-mill levy to pay for county jail operations and juvenile detention facilities, 61 percent to 39 percent, according to unofficial election results.

“The jail millage is critical for public safety,” said Sheriff Benny Napoleon.

Napoleon said the sheriffs office did all it could to educate the public through the media and emails and through county communications. If it failed, he said, it could have meant putting 700 to 1,000 inmates back on the street.

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