Canyon County Authorities Trying Hard To Sell Voters On Bond For New Jail

May 14, 2019

Voters in Canyon County will head to the polls Tuesday, May 21 and decide whether or not authorize a $187 million bond to put toward building a new jail. The measure needs a two-thirds majority to pass.
Credit Lancey / Flickr

The debate about what Canyon County should do to address its jail problem continues to swirl. Local officials are hosting a series of town hall meetings ahead of a bond measure set to go before voters Tuesday, May 21.

Canyon County is making a hard sell for a new jail. Last week, town hall meetings about a $187 million bond to fund the project were held in Melba, Middleton and Parma. Those gatherings were attended by all three Canyon County Commissioners.

The group didn’t make it to a Monday night town hall at the Nampa Public Library. According to the Idaho Press, staff from the jail and the county spokesperson were among those fielding questions from residents about the bond.

A majority of those at the meeting raised concerns about a tax hike to fund the jail. County officials say if the bond passes, it would raise the average property tax bill by 5 – 7%, depending on the community.

This latest attempt to rally voter support to fund a new jail is the fourth in about a decade. If it doesn’t pass this time, local leaders say they’re open to again putting it before voters in November.

The new jail would address a range of issues with the current facility. In recent years, the Canyon County Jail has seen numerous escapes and persistently dealt with overcrowding. The new jail complex would have over a thousand beds.

Two more town halls are planned for this week. One is this (Tuesday, May 14) evening in Wilder and the other is Wednesday in Caldwell. Both start at 7 pm.

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