Voters Will Be Asked To Fund Courts, Jails In November

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In November, voters will be asked to fund courthouse facilities and jails in Globe and Payson.

The ballot will hold two questions. The first question will ask for the authorization for the county to issue $16 million in general obligations bonds to construct criminal justice centers and pay for related services. Secondly, voters will be asked to pass a half-cent sales tax to a newly formed jail district for the construction and operation of jails in Globe and Payson.

Gila County Supervisor Tommie Martin said voters in the county have two choices -- pass the funding requests or wait for the federal government to force the building of new facilities.

On May 14, Martin met with the Gila County Facilities and Planning Committee to hear their assessment of the need for the new jails and courts. The committee unanimously agreed that improvements and new facilities are needed in both locations and recommended the board take the step of going to the taxpayers for bond approval.

Improvements and additions in Payson would include two new courtrooms for Superior Court and Justice Court, and requisite chambers for judges.

The committee also recommended a jury assembly area, trial jury suites (the current facilities have neither), new administrative offices for the Sheriff's Department and various other improvements and additions.

Also recommended by the committee was the building of a new 96-bed jail facility in Payson (on the site of the existing jail) to replace the current one.

Total cost of the projects in Payson are estimated at approximately $11.3 million for the new jail facility, and $6.5 million for the two new courtrooms and related additions, making the grand total just under $17.8 million.

For Globe, the committee also recommended the addition of a new 96-bed facility, remodeling existing inmate facilities and operations area and upgrades to existing facilities.

Costs for the Globe additions and improvements include $5.9 million for the new jail and $7.75 million for new courtroom improvements and additions, making a total of approximately $13.65 million.

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