Curry County bond election for proposed new detention facility - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Curry County bond election for proposed new detention facility

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Clovis, NM - In the next week, voters in Curry County will decide whether to give the greenlight to a new detention center to alleviate the longtime problems of the current jail.

The Curry County Detention Center is overcrowded and understaffed, and county officials have been searching for a solution for years.  And their latest plan to address the problem has a total price tag of about $13.4 million - but voters have to approve it first.  So this evening, the county held a public meeting to let the voters hear exactly what they had in mind.

Over the last ten years, Curry County has spent $6.8 million to house inmates in some neighboring counties - and some counties that aren't exactly next door.

"The current detention facility is not adequate," says Clovis City Manager Joe Thomas, "They're having to house a lot of the prisoners outside of the area as far away as places over in Texas that are possibly more than a hundred miles away."

So now county officials are proposing building a brand-new facility just east of the Clovis landfill - but to do so, they need to issue $9.88 million in bonds.  The rest would be funded with an existing tax levy, so tax rates would not be affected.

"It will not increase taxes," says Curry County Manager Lance Pyle, "It is an extension of the 2001 general obligation bonds, and we're financing it going down an additional 20 years, so the property tax rate will remain the same."

Voters rejected two similar proposals in 2010 and 2012 - the first included a new courthouse, which voters found unnecessary.  The second time around, they didn't want the new facility within the city itself.  So this latest proposal would utilize the existing detention center for booking, and use the new building to house medium and maximum security prisoners.

"The biggest advantage is the advantage to our community and the citizens overall of having an adequate facility to house the more dangerous type prisoners," says Thomas.

Early voting runs through the Friday, August 2nd, and the bond election will be held next Tuesday, August 6th.

If you'd like more information about the cost, location, and rationale behind the proposal, follow the link attached to this story.