Bond And Sales Tax Measures Trounced At Polls

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With all 39 precincts in Gila County reporting Thursday morning, the bond and sales tax measures for new justice facilities failed by a considerable margin.

The election had only 25 percent of registered voters in the county turn out -- 7,246 of 28,558 people -- but of that population more than 75 percent voted against the measures.

The bond measure to pay for the court renovations received 5,408 votes in opposition and only 1,770 votes in favor, about 75 percent to 25 percent, respectively.

The sales tax measure and creation of a jails district to pay for jail renovations received 5,414 votes in opposition, about 76 percent and only 1,706 votes in favor, about 24 percent.

While the means to fund the jail and court improvements failed, the need for the facilities remains, Supervisor Tommie Martin said.

Martin said that despite the overwhelming failure of the measures, the county will still be forced to do something to improve the overcrowding and outdated facilities.

"The (jails) committee wanted the people to have a say in those two issues and they did," she said. "We'll have to go back to the drawing board from here because we still have a problem."

Martin said the project would take much longer and cost more as a result of the election.

"What we do won't be a fast solution and it will cost more," she said. "It's still going to be paid for with tax dollars. There is no other way to pay for this."

County officials would take into consideration the wide disparity reflected in the vote, Martin said.

"It looks like the people have spoken," she said.

The county recorder has 10 days from the day of an election to review provisional and early ballots. Gila County Elections Director Dixie Mundy said up to 200 provisional ballots are still in the process of being verified.

"It is not enough to change the outcome of the election," she said.

Mundy said election results will remain unofficial until the board of supervisors approves them and declares them official. The results will be presented to the board for review on Tuesday, Nov. 20.

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