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Voters approve new jail for Asotin County

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ASOTIN COUNTY, WA - In Asotin County, the first step of building a new jail is done. With 600 ballots left to count, the Asotin County Auditor's office shows that the sales tax proposition received nearly 70 percent approval.

Members of the Jail Advisory Board worked hard to inform the public about the need for a new jail to improve public safety and implement programs to help inmates turn their lives around.

"This is an example of the City of Clarkston, the City of Asotin, and the county working together with the community to get something done," Asotin County, Commissioner Brian Shinn said.

Commissioner Shinn is ready to move forward with collaborated efforts to build a new jail. The current jail was built in 1984 and designed to house only 16 inmates. Today, its average population is around 50.

For Asotin County, Jail Advisory Board member, Undersheriff Jody Brown, the board worked hard to get to this point.

"It was quiet the process to get here and we had high hopes," Undersheriff Brown said.

Members of the Jail Advisory Board worked together to address the crisis state of the jail.

They held four packed town-hall meetings and hired a temporary architect consultant to address voter questions. But this work just started.

"The architect has to be selected then the final site selection has to be completed once the site selection is done then they can complete their plans or designs of what they think will fit on the site," Undersheriff Brown said.

Officials say, it'll be several months of discussing plans that'll involves the community input.

Commissioner Shinn is grateful to the voters who approved the sales tax.

"We're so thankful, and thankful of the people for voting yes," Commissioner Shinn said.

The 3/10 of a penny sales tax will not go into effect until about March.

Commissioner Shinn says, on the low end, he estimates it would generate about $850,000 a year in revenue. The funds will stay local and go toward building and maintaining the jail.

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The next jail committee meeting will be next Tuesday on Nov. 12, 2019 at 1 p.m. in the Asotin County Commissioners chambers.

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