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Voters reject $41-million Clay County, SD LEC bond vote

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CLAY COUNTY, S.D. (KTIV) - Voters in Clay County, South Dakota have voted against a $41 million bond issue to pay for a new courthouse, jail and public safety center.

According to the results sent to KTIV, the bond failed with 1,544 votes against the bond, and just 766 votes for the bond. The vote required a simple majority to pass, in other words it required 50% of the vote plus one.

Had the vote passed, property taxes would have gone up $1.60 per $1,000 valuation for 30 years.

The Clay Board of Commissioners were the ones who made the proposal for a new courthouse, jail and public safety center. County officials say the proposal was made because the existing building that contains all three facilities no longer meets their needs.

"Our current courthouse was built in 1912, it was built at a time before computers and before so many people were doing business in the courthouse," said Clay County Sheriff Andy Howe.

Howe has told KTIV that the age of the building is raising safety concerns.

"There are no sprinklers systems, we would need to quickly evacuate the jail if there was a fire in the building, and that's a very staff intensive endeavor there," said Howe.

As for the jail, Howe said they often exceed the amount of beds they have available for the inmates, so they have to house inmates out of county.

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Dean Welte

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