Jail expansion costs, sales tax revenue about the same
MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. (AP) — The price tag to build a 50-bed expansion to the Baxter County Detention Center and the revenues generated from a temporary sales tax to fund that construction, appear to be roughly equal.
The Baxter Bulletin reports that County Judge Mickey Pendergrass opened the bids on the final six construction contracts on Aug. 15 and awarded those contracts in late August, setting the expansion’s construction costs at $3,572,000. The county projects to receive $3.56 million in revenue from a six-month 1-percent sales tax that began being collected in April and will expire at the end of this month.
That sales tax has generated $1.8 million in revenue through the first three months.
On Jan. 1, 2019, a permanent quarter-percent sales tax will go into effect to fund the jail’s continued operation and maintenance. That tax is estimated to generate about $133,000 per month and can be used to help cover any construction costs not covered by the temporary 1-percent sales tax.
Both sales tax measures were approved by Baxter County voters in September 2017.
The expansion would add an additional 50 beds to the current 100-bed facility. The jail’s population regularly exceeds 100 prisoners, and as of Thursday afternoon held 122 inmates.
County officials hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking at the jail on Aug. 17, with actual dirt work and construction starting on Aug. 27. Construction time on the jail expansion should last about 11 or 12 months, project manager Don Abernathy said.
Construction of the jail’s expansion is split into 19 contracts, each one covering specific duties like site clearing, plumbing or painting.
The Sheriff’s Office does have a 24-hour video stream of the construction site for those curious how the construction is going. That camera’s feed can be accessed at www.baxtercountysheriff.com/jailexpansion .
Information from: The Baxter Bulletin, http://www.baxterbulletin.com