The Garland County Quorum Court last week called for a special election on Oct. 11 for two proposed sales tax increases totaling 1%. The revenue would finance construction and operations of a new county jail in Hot Springs.
A 0.625% increase would be devoted to supporting $42 million of revenue bonds to build the jail. The tax would expire when the bonds mature, officials said, which should be in five years.
A 0.375% increase in the rate would pay for maintenance and operations at the jail. The maintenance and operations tax would continue while the facility is in operation.
A 0.5% sales tax approved by voters for county operations, including the jail, generated $7.8 million in 2010.
The current county jail was built in 1986 to hold 88 inmates but regularly holds 200.
The county formed the criminal justice coordinating committee in March 2009 to study whether a new jail was necessary. When the need was established, the committee determined the best site and developed cost estimates for construction and operations.
The citizens committee had recommended an August vote, but the election was delayed to give the county more time to develop the jail proposal.
The jail is expected to cost $40 million. Maintenance and operational costs are estimated at $5.6 million a year.