Voters defeated a measure that would’ve imposed a 1% tax on all sales of tangible goods within the county.
The Lee County Detention Facility Referendum failed tonight. The Sheriff placed the jail tax on the ballot in the hopes of raising money to fix up the current jail, which has failed its last eight inspections. The money also would’ve been used to fund the construction of a new jail.
The county’s current jail was built in 1970. Right now, water and raw sewage are leaking throughout the building. The only holding cell in the jail doesn’t even have a toilet, which requires officers to take inmates out of it, putting them at risk.
Sheriff John Simonton told Eyewitness News the jail faces the real possibility of being shut down. Inmates would then be transferred to other counties. Simonton says that’ll cost Lee County about $1 million per year.