Lawrence County sales tax increase passes, jail construction begins

Lawrence County sales tax increase passes, jail construction begins

LAWRENCE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - The sales tax increase passed and work on a new county jail is underway.

Tuesday, voters in Lawrence County approved a half-cent sales tax that will fund a new jail.

In 2014, the Arkansas State Jail Standards told county officials they had to either renovate, expand or rebuild the jail, or it would be shut down.

Quorum Court members decided to propose a half-cent sales tax increase that would be used to build a brand new jail and help maintain it.

County Judge Dale Freeman said now that the tax has passed the work can start. He will meet with the architect this week to finalize plans.

The property is located south of the courthouse on the corner of W. 6th and Elm Streets. The county already owns the land.

Plans include beds for 100 inmates, which is a big increase from the current 44 beds.

Freeman thanked the voters for realizing this is a benefit to the county.

"We made the people understand that is was going to cost more to go somewhere else than it was to build a new jail," Freeman said.

He hopes construction can start in April and will take about a year.

Until then the Arkansas State Jail Standards said they will work with the county to keep the old jail running while the new one is under construction.

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