A committee of volunteers is being formed to look into the need for new jail facilities in Gila County. The new facilities will be paid for by a tax that will appear on the November ballot if it is recommended by the committee.
Eleven members of the 18-member committee have been chosen. The committee is made up of three members appointed by each supervisor, and one member appointed by every town and tribe in Gila County.
The members may not be elected officials or work for elected officials. They are volunteers and their expenses, such as travel, will be paid.
So far, members include Kristi Ford, Harry Jones and Ken Volz, who were appointed by Supervisor Tommie Martin; Dan Adams, Linda Center and Joe Rodriguez, who were appointed by Supervisor Joe Sanchez; Tom Moody, Richard Standage and Tommie Rasmussen, who were appointed by Supervisor Shirley Dawson; and Ronnie McDaniel from the town of Star Valley and Al Poskanzer from the town of Payson.
The 11 members of the Gila County Facility Planning Citizens Advisory Committee met for the first time Thursday in an introductory meeting designed to outline their future course of action.
The committee will most likely meet once a week for the first six months of the process, supervisor Tommie Martin said. The meetings are open to the public.
Martin said, she would like to have a report explaining the needs, costs and design of new facilities by May.
Martin said that she thinks two jail facilities, one in Payson and one in Globe, will probably be needed.
"We need to relocate the criminal justice sector into facilities that can handle it," she said. "We need to design in such a way that they can grow as we grow."
The funding for the new facilities will come from the creation of a county jail district that can levy up to a half-cent sales tax or 50 cents per $100 for 20 years. The taxes to be used for the creation of the jail facilities will be voted on by taxpayers in a special November election if that is what is recommended by the committee.