CROSS COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - A new jail coming to Cross County gathered many officials to break ground as voters approved two separate sales taxes to make this happen.
Sheriff David West says he’s very thankful the citizens backed the sales tax vote.
In 2019, voters passed a permanent 1/8 cent sales operation maintenance tax and a 7/8 cent sales tax to pay for the jail. The 7/8 tax will end as soon as the jail is completely paid for.
“It’s just going out beyond repair,” he says. “It would cost more to repair than to build a new one.”
A committee formed decided it would be cheaper to build from the ground up. West says they met with many in the community through town hall meetings to educate them on the need.
“They stood behind us, believed in us,” he says. “That’s where we are.”
West says the jail wasn’t meeting the state jail inspector’s standards, saying they found multiple violations.
“The state agreed if we did this, they wouldn’t shut our jail down until this was built and they really bent over backward and worked with us,” he says.
The current jail holds 86 inmates while the new jail will hold 143 inmates.
West says the jail should be completed in 14-18 months.
Once completed, the jail will be located at 1600 S. Falls Blvd.