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Canyon County voters overwhelmingly reject new jail; Meridian will get library expansions

New jail bond? Here’s what the current Canyon County Jail looks like.

Canyon County Sheriff's Lt. Dale Stafford gives a tour of the current 28-year-old jail and explains what would change in a new one.
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Canyon County Sheriff's Lt. Dale Stafford gives a tour of the current 28-year-old jail and explains what would change in a new one.

For the fourth time since 2006, Canyon County voters have rejected a bond that would have funded a new jail, which many county officials say is sorely needed.

A $187 million bond to build a new jail failed in a massive way Tuesday, garnering just 34.03 percent of the vote (4,807 total votes). Tuesday’s election was the first time a bond for a new jail had been on the ballot since 2010. It broke down to an annual cost of $94.43 per $100,000 of taxable property value, and would have been on a 20-year repayment plan, with an estimated interest rate of 3.47 percent.

The bond required a two-thirds majority vote to pass; instead, nearly two-thirds voted against it, according to unofficial final results.

The Canyon County Sheriff’s Office has fought for a new jail for years and said it wants to keep jail capacity at 80 percent to give flexibility if inmates need to be separated. In early March, the jail was at 87 percent capacity and was housing 26 inmates in other counties due to a lack of beds. Canyon County spent $721,375 housing inmates in other counties last year, per previous Statesman reporting.

The current jail has 477 beds; an assessment found that a new jail would have needed 1,055 beds to fit current needs.

A $14 million levy for a big Meridian library expansion, meanwhile, passed with relative ease, garnering 67.2 percent of the vote. It required 55 percent approval to pass. The levy seeks to add technology upgrades, two new library branches and an expansion to the city’s main library branch on Cherry Lane.

Other results from Tuesday’s elections in Ada County can be found here. Results from Canyon County can be found here.

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