HOBART — Kiowa County residents will see their sales tax go up after voters approved a 1 percent sales tax hike Tuesday to pay for a new jail.
The measure passed 416, or 55.84 percent, to 329, or 44.10 percent.
The tax increase is supposed to expire in 2048 or upon the payment of any indebtedness secured by the tax, according to the ballot. It is supposed to be only used to fund the “construction, renovation, equipping, and improvement” of the new jail.
An annex for office space will be built onto the National Guard Armory, while the armory itself will be remodeled as jail space. Administrative offices, which are now housed in the armory, will be moved to the new annex.
The tax is expected to generate about $817,000 each year. Total cost of the project is $8.35 million.
Kiowa County Sheriff Joe Janz said it was cheaper to build the office space and remodel the armory for the jail than to build a new jail.
The current jail is about 119 years old, and the age shows, according to Janz. Parts of the floors are deteriorating to an extent that the sub-floor can be seen. Plumbing leaks haven taken a toll on ceilings, walls and coatings. Electrical issues are mounting. Almost all of the windows are boarded up, creating a security risk. Rust is building up. Also, it is not handicapped accessible.