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Carbon County citizens set to vote on proposed jail

Jail public meeting.jpg
Posted at 7:52 AM, Jul 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-22 11:41:09-04

About 25 people showed up at Belfry Elementary School Wednesday for the final public meeting before the vote on a new jail in Carbon County.

The county last had a detention facility in 2001 in Red Lodge.

Voters will consider a $19 million bond to build a new jail in Joliet and a $1.83 million levy for operation and maintenance.

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KTVQ photo

The county commissioners and the sheriff each had a chance to talk about it and let the citizens know their reasons for wanting to have the jail built in Joliet.

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KTVQ photo

"Carbon County does not have a detention facility," said Sheriff Josh McQuillan. "We contract with Yellowstone County, Gallatin County, Rosebud County and Broadwater County to house our inmates. That takes one deputy away from the county patrolling, responding to calls. Instead, they become transport officers."

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KTVQ photo

"Four to eight hours, our deputies are driving that far, just to put people in detention," said Commissioner Scott Miller. "And we just can't afford that because our officers are having to drive that far. Then we don't have public safety on the roads, taking care of the people in Carbon County."

Citizens asked questions at this meeting but nobody voiced any opposition. However, there have been some concerns raised in other meetings.

"This is a very diverse subject," McQuillan said. "There's some feelings both ways on this. Probably the biggest opposition we hear is the increase in taxes. And we're very much aware of that. We've tried to make this the most efficient and affordable plan going forward."

"The people that do have a concern, a lot of this isn't necessarily that we don't need to jail, it's that their taxes are going to go up," Miller said. "And we absolutely understand that. Because we live in the county as commissioners, we understand that the taxes are going to go up and we absolutely don't want to see that. Everybody's taxes are going up. These are hard times in the whole country and in Montana, especially."

Ballots have to be in all on August 3 Russ will send it back to you.

On a $200,000 home, the $19 million bond would add $57.46, and the $1.83 million dollar mill levy will add $103.95 for a $161.41 annual tax increase.

Ballots for the special election have to be in all by August 3.