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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Stevens County approves sales tax for new jail

Artist rendering of the proposed Stevens County Justice Center, which would be funded by a sales tax and built across the street from the current jail and courthouse in Colville.

While voters in Spokane County soundly rejected a tax for new jails, voters to the north took the opposite approach.

Voters approved two ballot proposals for sales taxes to fund a new justice center in Stevens County.

Proposition 1, which asked for a 0.3% sales tax increase, was leading 69.5% to 30.5% on election night. Proposition 2, which asked for a 0.1% sales tax increase, was leading 68% to 32%.

Separate propositions were required because they fall under two types of sales taxes for public safety and criminal justice.

About 6,900 ballots were counted Tuesday night, with an estimated 4,000 remaining.

The combined 0.4% sales tax increase will translate to 4 cents for every $10 spent on retail purchases by consumers in the county and will bring the county’s total sales tax to 8%.

The tax will help finance a justice center that would include a new courthouse and would replace the Stevens County Jail, which Sheriff Brad Manke said is outdated and overcrowded. The justice center would expand the jail’s capacity from 22 to 110 cells and cost an estimated $90 million.

James Hanlon's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.